Saturday 24 March 2018

It is your money and Revenue wants to give it back to you. So, what are you waiting for?

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Does the taxwoman owe you money? What many people don't realise is that Revenue is anxious to reunite people with their money.

But there is a four-year time limit for claiming tax back on things like health expenses, nursing home fees, tuition fees or flat rate expenses. And that deadline is fast approaching.

The deadline for 2013 claims is the last day of December. This means you are running out of time to check that you have claimed all your entitlements from four years ago.

Revenue planning division manager Leeann O'Kelly says the tax authority is encouraging taxpayers to engage with it to ensure they are getting their tax refunds and qualify for all the tax credits they are entitled to receive.

She said recently: "You can claim back tax that you have overpaid for any of the last four years, and ensure that you claim all your entitlements for future years." This can be done online or via the mobile phone app, RevApp. O'Kelly has revealed that Revenue has an ongoing programme of direct contact with PAYE (Pay As You Earn) workers, to encourage them to engage with it.

In October last year Revenue wrote to more than 137,500 PAYE workers who had not claimed any additional tax reliefs or credits in the four years since 2012. This exercise resulted in refunds or tax credits to taxpayers totalling €27.6m. A similar number of PAYE taxpayers have been written to this year.

O'Kelly said: "Even if you did not get a letter from Revenue, you can review your tax record online at any time, using PAYE Services in myAccount or through RevApp."

She said that while the claims are subject to verification, most online refund claims are paid within five working days.

That means that if you submit your claim online now, your refund can be paid into your bank account before Christmas.

The average household is estimated to be missing out on around €950 in tax refunds.

Would you leave almost €1,000 of your money lying on a table and fail to grab it? No, you would not. But many people are failing to claim tax refunds and are not availing of tax breaks, according to tax practitioners, which is pretty much the same thing.

We are getting better at claiming what is ours from Revenue, but we are still not claiming everything that is owed to us, tax experts maintain.

When Revenue officials are asking taxpayers to claim back tax, and writing to a select number of people every year to remind them to make claims, it really makes sense to work out if the tax authorities owe you money.

At the end of the day, it is your money.

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