TAX AVOIDANCE SCHEMES

The Irish Taxation Institute is demanding the Revenue come clean on the tax avoidance schemes it plans to target after the upcoming December Budget, according to The Sunday Business Post. Proposed new reforms may force tax advisers to provide the powers that be with immediate details of their clients’ tax planning strategies but the institute argues Revenue should be subject to similar regimes that exist in the UK and Australia.

Revenue is currently preparing its new mandatory disclosure policy, which makes it an offence for accountants and tax advisers to devise, market or implement schemes that reduce the tax bill of an individual or firm unless they provide full details of the schemes to Revenue in a timely fashion. This will allow the authorities to close off loopholes quickly. The new regime is an attempt to crack down on so-called “aggressive” tax-planning techniques.

The Institute argues in a submission to Revenue that the reforms could increase costs for businesses significantly in the absence of supports and information systems to help tax advisers.

“This additional reporting responsibility highlights the need to provide advisers and promoters with a properly resourced Revenue clearance system,” the Institute states. “This is one of the key components of a co-operative based tax compliance system recognised by the OECD and it is not available to taxpayers in Ireland.”

Meanwhile, the Personal Finance section of the same newspaper, gives a host of budget tips to help save money. Along with the awful prospect of swapping out your daily cappuccino for an instant coffee or forsaking the lunchtime trip to the deli for a home-made sandwich at your desk, there is advice on claiming back tax.

It would appear the average tax refund in 2009 for those who were due it was €380. The most popular relief was on medical expenses, with over 400,000 people claiming for these.

Irish people who have worked overseas should also make sure they claim their tax back. Recent figures from taxback.com, which provides tax refunds for people who have worked in Australia, said the average payback was $2,500 – at least that’s some compensation for those returning to face an Irish winter.

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