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FORGET E-VOTING, TAX E-FILING IS THE FUTURE

This week the Revenue is due to release the latest module in its comprehensive programme of mandatory electronic payment and filing of taxes – and it will have a profound effect for the almost 50% of businesses who still shy away from ROS.

From Wednesday, businesses and individuals will no longer have the comfort of a reminder by post, entailing even greater responsibility on taxpayers to know exactly when their liabilities fall due.

Writing in The Sunday Business Post Andrew Cullen, president of the Irish Tax Institute, details the significant impact it will have on many companies and individuals. After Wednesday, returns must be made online for the following categories:

  • Companies, trusts, partnerships, collective investment undertakings and European economic interest groupings
  • Individuals filing stamp duty returns for instruments executed on or after Wednesday
  • Individuals or companies filing a return of payments to third parties (Form 46G)
  • Individuals subject to the high earners restriction
  • Individuals benefiting from or acquiring foreign life policies, offshore funds or other offshore products
  • Individuals claiming a range of property-based incentives (residential and industrial buildings allowances)

The Revenue has already informed relevant taxpayers and their agents of the changes. Also, a dedicated section on the Revenue website details mandatory e-filing, which has been extended over the past couple of years from income tax returns to cover such taxes as VAT and PAYE/PRSI where liabilities fall below certain monthly thresholds.

“Many taxpayers affected by the new deadline may already be doing some e-filing,” Cullen says. “Typically, they might file their income tax returns online; however, they will now have to e-file their other returns, for example VAT and PAYE/PRSI.

“According to Revenue statistics for 2010, only 40% of P30s and 49% of VAT returns were filed online.”

Cullen suggests these figures show many businesses and individuals should be consulting their tax advisers on the likely impact moving from paper will have on them.

“The Revenue has also developed simplified/reduced filing arrangements for those with lower tax liabilities,” Cullen says. “These arrangements allow small businesses to file certain returns less regularly. The Revenue regularly reviews and identifies businesses that can avail of such arrangements.”

All partnerships – husband/wife, farming, family – will have to e-file and pay electronically from Wednesday. Payment can be made by direct debit every month if liabilities are under certain thresholds ie VAT is under €50,000 and monthly PAYE/PRSI is under €25,000.

Anyone paying by direct debit need only file a single annual return online – a Form P35 for PAYE/PRSI and one annual VAT 3.

It would also appear the Revenue is being pro-active when it comes to identifying companies who are not already using its online ROS service. It is even going as far as completing the first stage of the two-part ROS registration process and issuing an access number to the businesses concerned in an effort to make going online as painless as possible.

Here at Noone Casey we believe E-Filing is the way forward; we have assisted numerous companies streamline their acccounting and taxation systems to enable online filing and payment of taxes. We have  developed I-Finance Ireland’s leading online accounting and financial management system to allow small companies keep their financial records online facilitating the online filing & payment of taxes.

The Revenue will allow exceptions to online payment but only if it can be convinced the taxpayer doesn’t have the wherewithal to do so eg if he or she doesn’t have access to a computer or the necessary software.

Exclusion might also apply based on age or mental and physical infirmity. Any applications for exclusion must be made in writing to the Customer Service branch of the Revenue Planning Division. If a taxpayer is refused, he or she can put their case to the Appeals Commissioner.

The next phase of the programme is due later this year. From October 1, employers with more than 10 employees must also pay and file online if they are not already obliged to do so.

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