Friday 24 October 2014

Now PAYE workers to face tax crackdown on 'nixers'

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Published 31/05/2014 | 02:30

Josephine  Feehily,Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners. Photo: Tom Burke
Josephine Feehily,Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners. Photo: Tom Burke

REVENUE officials are writing to thousands of PAYE workers telling them to make a tax return because it is suspected they have income that they are not paying tax on, the Irish Independent has learned.

And the tax authorities are insisting that the tax return is completed online.

A spokeswoman for the tax authority confirmed that 40,000 employees are set to be told to make an online tax return.

These are people whose main income is taxed at source through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system.

But Revenue chairman Josephine Feehily and her officials suspect they have other income from bank and credit union deposits, pensions, rentals and dividend payments that they have not declared for tax purposes. Teachers doing grinds and PAYE workers who moonlight as taxi drivers are also being targeted.

Tip-offs from information supplied by banks about deposits and details about pension payments from the Department of Social Protection have triggered warning signs that tax may be under-declared by some PAYE workers, the spokeswoman said.

People notified by Revenue will be required to fill out the online equivalent of the old Form 12, which has been simplified and shortened for the internet. A Revenue spokeswoman said: "PAYE taxpayers aren't required to file an annual return. However, Revenue carries out a general issue of Form 12s to certain PAYE taxpayers every year.

"The general issue is based on risk criteria that Revenue applies to select cases from which we require a tax return form in a particular year. The risk criteria may change from year to year and are based on a mix of information held on Revenue's own records and information received from third parties." Normally, only self-employed people are asked to submit an income tax return.

But in the last few years a large number of PAYE workers with additional, untaxed income, have been targeted and asked to complete a self-assessment return every year.

Director of taxation, Chartered Accountants Ireland, Brian Keegan, said that once Revenue gets the new returns online, rather than on paper, it will make the job of analysing the income figures and raising demands for any extra taxes due much easier.

"Revenue have spent significant time and effort developing this new online system for employees to use. For taxpayers, it should be easier than the old paper system," he said.

"In the future the taxman will increase the number of requests to employees to complete returns. From the Revenue perspective, that will give them a better handle on any tax due on non-PAYE income, and a payback for the investment in the online service."

Irish Independent

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