Revenue change puts taxpayers on back foot
THOUSANDS of people who make a tax return every October have been warned they have just weeks to use an electronic system, as new Revenue rules kick in.
Some 600,000 people file annual tax returns.
This means that the self-employed and PAYE workers with additional self-assessed income, like landlords and those claiming tax reliefs for putting money into pensions, will have to file online. Officials in the Revenue Commissioners have written to thousands of people in the past few weeks telling them to register with the Revenue Online Service (ROS) system.
The tax body, which is headed up by Josephine Feehily, is moving to have all tax returns done electronically on a phased basis.
Tax expert Cathal Maxwell of PayLessTax.ie said most of the 600,000 people who file a tax return near the end of each year would be impacted by the move. He advised people to register with ROS now, as it can take a few weeks to go through the process.
The deadline for self-assessed taxpayers who file a paper return is October 31.
But the deadline for those who file electronically is November 15.
Mr Maxwell said that this would mean that even though people were being required to file online, they at least have more time.
He said: "If you are already in the self-assessment system and are claiming tax reliefs, you will have to do an electronic file, or efile. There are no more paper returns."
The individuals affected are those who are VAT (valued added tax) registered.
Also impacted are those already in the self-assessment tax system who are claiming tax relief for pension contributions.
Those who are already self-assessed and claiming tax relief for the business expansion scheme, film relief and transborder relief will also be affected. The new electronic filing requirement will also apply to anyone already under tax self-assessment claiming a tax exemption, such as artists and those claiming woodlands exemptions and patent income exemptions.
Large firms already have to file electronically, but now the tax authorities want to extend this in phases to all those who make tax returns.
The Revenue is hoping that by 2013, almost everyone who has to make a return will file it electronically.