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Your Questions: What should I do if I failed to declare all my income in tax return?


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Question: I run a small leisure-focused business, and recently filed my first tax return with Revenue for year one of trading. However, I have since come across some material I didn't include relating to additional income, and I don't know if I am supposed to contact Revenue directly or wait until it contacts me when it processes my return.

Answer: If you noticed that you have made an error on your tax return, it is advisable to contact Revenue to let it know a self-correction will be made.

Revenue allows a return to be self-corrected without a penalty, according to the chief executive of Taxback.com, Joanna Murphy. You need to notify Revenue in writing or via ROS of the adjustments to be made, and the correct tax and statutory interest payable, provided the correction is made within 12 months of the due date for filing the return.

However, a penalty will apply in such cases where the Revenue has already contacted the taxpayer in relation to a query on their return, which may be a precursor to an audit.

Section 1077E of the Tax Consolidation Act 1997 sets out the penalties which apply where a person deliberately or carelessly submits an incorrect return, Ms Murphy said.

The penalty is reduced depending whether the taxpayer co-operates, whether a qualifying disclosure is made and whether the additional tax due is above €6,000. A qualifying disclosure could be prompted disclosure or unprompted disclosure. The advantages to making a qualifying disclosure are reduced penalties and omission from publication on the List of Tax Defaulters.

Question: I have a lot of dental and eye-care expenses and have cover with both DeCare Dental and HSF Health Plan. Can I claim from both?

Answer: The answer is yes, as both are completely separate policies, according to Dermot Goode of TotalHelathCover.ie. He recommends you claim from HSF for your eye-care costs and use your DeCare plan for all dental costs.

The HSF plans cover a range of out-patient expenses, including dental, optical, GP and many more, he says.

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As the DeCare policies are purely for dental costs, they provide higher benefits for eligible expenses and they also have a network of "direct-payment" dentists, which means your benefit will be payable directly on your behalf.

Question: I have recently moved home from the UK, where I lived for 15 years. I owned a house there which I have sold and am looking to buy in Ireland with the proceeds. I am not long back in the country and I am unsure which lender I should approach, whether to use a broker or how I can be sure I get the best deal.

Answer: As you may have experienced, lenders in the UK operate differently to those in Ireland.

You can approach one of the lenders here directly but, unlike UK banks, they are under no obligation to tell you if another lender could offer you a better deal, according to Trevor Grant, chairman of the Association of Irish Mortgage Advisers (AIMA).

To be sure of getting the best deal in the market, you need to get market-based advice. A number of brokers can give you this advice. A lender cannot. Lenders can only advise you regarding their products and not the markets.

Therefore, you could potentially overpay significantly on your mortgage if you just go directly to one lender and do not obtain market-based advice and compare all offers available.

A mortgage broker who can offer you market-based advice will review your circumstances and requirements and advise you based on your market options, Mr Grant said.

Question: My current health insurance plan is being discontinued. Should I accept the replacement plan offered by the health insurer?

Answer: Get independent advice on this before accepting any new plan, is the recommendation of Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie.

This will ensure any new plan selected represents the best value scheme, covering both the existing insurer and all other players in the market.

While the insurer will try to offer equivalent cover, there is no guarantee this is the best deal available. Mr Goode said it is advisable to always check out the best corporate plans before you renew as these are normally the best value schemes and they are available to all consumers irrespective of the plan name or who they are targeted at.

Revenue allows a return to be self-corrected without a penalty. You need to notify Revenue in writing or via ROS of the adjustments to be made.

Get independent advice before accepting any new health insurance plan to ensure it represents the best value scheme for you.

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