Paper Tax Returns – 31 October deadline – last call…

October 29, 2010

Sunday 31 October is of course the deadline for filing paper ‘Pay & File’ income tax returns for 2009.

As this date falls on a Sunday this year, the Revenue Commissioners have confirmed that returns  submitted by post “with a postmarked date of 31st October” will  meet the filing deadline.

Pay and File Tax Return Deadline 31 October

To be honest, I don’t know if any post offices open on Sundays, nor do I know many individuals with access to franking machines on Sundays, although I presume that this concession also applies to returns posted from Post Offices tomorrow, Saturday 30 October.

Revenue also state that returns can be manually delivered to their headquarters in Francis Street, Limerick over the weekend, although this facility will really only be  useful to taxpayers and agents in and around Limerick city.

Of course, the smart option is to prepare and file tax returns online via ROS, and avail of the extended deadline of 16 November.

Robbers in suits and nice cars …

October 28, 2010

The Anglo Celt reports today that “Cunning new gangs of criminals dressed in smart business suits and driving high powered Volvos and BMWs are cruising the rural roads in Cavan, Meath, Longford and Leitrim with one aim in mind – to rob as many homes as they can”.

That’s strange, I didn’t think the Budget was until December…

31 Oct. deadline now applies to Gift/ Inheritance Tax

October 19, 2010

This year, for the first time, the annual 31 October ‘Pay and File’ tax deadline applies to tax on gifts & inheritances.

Gifts and Inheritances are subject to Capital Acquisitions Tax, CAT for short.  If you received a gift or inheritance with a valuation date within the period 1 January to 31 August 2010, you must file a CAT return with Revenue by 31 October, AND pay your tax liability by this date.

If you use ROS to pay and file online, you can avail of the extended Pay & File deadline of 16 November.  This extension also applies to CAT.

See this recent Revenue statement for more details.

Revenue and Locums: Tax Bonanza or Catch 22?

October 18, 2010

Revenue move on medical locums will boost tax take but may drive up GMS costs for taxpayer.

According to last Thursday’s Irish Times, the Revenue Commissioners are currently ‘negotiating’  with out-of-hours GP services, in relation to PAYE/PRSI tax liabilities on locum doctors.  This news follows recent moves by Revenue to have locum professionals classified as PAYE employees rather than self-employed contractors.  A number of out-of-hours GP companies have already paid large settlement sums to Revenue arising from this change.

Locums are effectively temporary workers who provide holiday and other cover for resident practice doctors. Where a practice hires a locum as an employee, they must pay employers PRSI  (generally 10.75% of salary), and in addition deduct PAYE, PRSI and levies from their locum’s paycheque.  This generates a higher tax yield for Revenue than the previous system where each self-employed locum invoiced the practice for their services, was paid gross, deducted overhead costs in calculating their taxable income, and paid tax and PRSI on this net figure.

Working as a locum doctor can be financially lucrative but presents its own challenges. Most locums work for a range of practices, often in different towns and cities, and frequently move from one practice to another as their services are needed, e.g for holiday cover.  Locums must also budget for periodic spells of unemployment and their schedules being dictated by the needs of the various practices  who hire them.

In addition, by definition locums work in treating and diagnosing other doctors’ patients, with whom they do not have the same level of familiarity and medical history knowledge as enjoyed by a resident practice GP. Hence their work tends to be more difficult and pressurised than that of a resident GP.

The Irish Times article raises fears that the new Revenue approach will cause a scarcity of locums and that medical practices will find it difficult to recruit them. Only time will tell whether this pessimism is justified, and in these recessionary times, it may transpire that locum doctors are generally quite happy to continue working in that capacity, regardless their tax treatment.

On the other hand, if practices find it increasingly difficult to recruit locums, this raises the prospect of heavier burdens on already overworked GPs (with implications for the quality of medical care they provide) and higher recruitment costs for practices.  As any such cost hikes will undoubtedly be passed on to patients, the biggest loser here could well be the taxpayer, who funds GP services for medical card holders through the GMS system.

It would be ironic indeed if the boost to the Exchequer from the Revenue move is lost through higher costs within the GMS medical card system. Did anyone mention Catch-22?

The Irish Times article is here.

Bertie Ahern tops Revenue’s List of ‘Artists’

October 10, 2010

The Revenue Commissioners have published a list of individuals who have qualified for the Artists Exemption from Income Tax since April 2002.  The list is divided into 5 categories, covering book writers, playwrights, musical composers, painters and sculptors, and includes a mind-boggling total of 3,343 names.

Ironically, the very first name on the first list is none other Bertie Ahern! And the second is his daughter Cecelia!  (If you’re wondering, the lists are compiled, not in order of artistic merit but, in alphabetical order).

While Bertie’s surname enabled him to appear at the top of many a ballot paper, I guess that he would have preferred to kept a lower profile on this particular list – if indeed in Bertie’s world there is such a thing as bad publicity.

The full list can be viewed here.