New VAT & RCT Guidance for School Boards

May 23, 2016

Revenue have issued new Guidance Notes for School Boards of Management on how Relevant Contracts Tax (RCT) and VAT affect school building projects and repairs & maintenance works.

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The RCT tax system applies to construction contracts where a principal contractor deducts tax from payments due to building contractors and tradesmen.

Since 2012, school Boards of Management have been counted as ‘Principal Contractors’ for RCT purposes.

Where a Board of Management undertakes construction works (including associated repairs or alterations to a building or structure), they  must operate RCT procedures on all payments to contractors.

In addition, they must file VAT returns, and make VAT payments in respect of VAT withheld under the Reverse Charge system.

There are serious penalties for failing to comply with these obligations, so school Boards should take special care to ensure that their VAT and RCT affairs are fully in order.

If you’re not fully certain of what exactly to do, avoid a potential nightmare by getting proper professional advice.


The Tax Mistakes Builders & Tradesmen Are Making

March 25, 2016

Last August, the Revenue Commissioners warned builders and tradesmen to ensure they remain tax compliant as the construction industry recovers from the downturn.

They have obviously been busy in this area in the meantime, as they have now publicly flagged their concerns on some key areas where mistakes are being made.

These centre on the incorrect operation of the VAT Reverse Charge and Country Money systems.

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Under the VAT Reverse Charge system, each VAT-registered sub-contractor invoices a principal contractor net of VAT, and is paid the invoice total net of VAT.

The principal contractor must then calculate the appropriate VAT on the the sub-contractor’s invoice and must pay that VAT amount directly to Revenue in their VAT return.

Revenue have now highlighted the following specific problems in this area:

  • Failure by Principal contractors to calculate the VAT and remit it to Revenue.
  • Incorrect completion of VAT invoices by sub-contractors.
  • Incorrect application of the two thirds rule.
  • Errors in completing VAT returns (including ignoring the reverse charge altogether).
  • Failure to apply the VAT Reverse Charge to construction supply transactions between connected parties.

They have also issued a fresh reminder of the strict conditions for tax-free Country Money travel and subsistence payments  to transient building & electrical contracting workers.

In addition to the above issues, it almost goes without saying that full compliance with the Relevant Contracts Tax or eRCT system is absolutely essential for every contractor and sub-contractor in the building trade.

This system requires every contractor to register all contracts with, and payments to, all subcontractors, and obliges the contractor to deduct a percentage of tax from each payment where Revenue request this.

If you are a builder, tradesman or contractor, and have had difficulties or issues in complying with the various regulations, you may be liable to interest and penalties on any tax shortfall.

You can minimise your exposure by making an “unprompted voluntary disclosure” to Revenue and settling your tax, penalties and interest liabilities ahead of any Revenue audit or enforcement check on your business.

If you are considering such an option, I strongly recommend that you first obtain decent professional advice to protect your interests and ensure that you qualify for the concessions offered by the Revenue Audit Code of Practice.

Finally, here is the new Revenue eBrief outlining the above issues.

Contractors – Renew 2011 Payments Cards Now!

December 15, 2010

Contractors in the construction, forestry and meat processing trades must observe Relevant Contracts Tax (RCT) on payments to subcontractors.  If a contractor holds an RCT Payments Card for a subcontractor, they can make payments to the subcontractor without deducting tax, otherwise 35% tax must be deducted on all payments, and paid over to Revenue.

RCT Payments Cards due for Renewal at year-end

Payments Cards are renewable annually and contractors who currently hold 2010 Payments Cards for subcontractors, should now apply to Revenue as soon as possible to renew all such Payment Cards for 2011.

All payments to subcontractors must be paid net of 35%  unless the contractor making the payment holds a current RCT Payments Card for the subcontractor. This applies even if the subcontractor holds an up-to-date C2 certificate.

All 2010 Payments Cards expire on 31 December 2010 and it is up to the contractor to apply for new payments cards for 2011.

Form RCT46A can be used to renew a 2010 Payments Card for an ongoing contract, while Form RCT46 may be used to apply for a Payments Card for a new subcontractor.

There are heavy penalties for non-operation of RCT on subcontractor payments, and failure to observe RCT rules can cost contractors dearly.  Therefore, contractors should take extreme care to ensure that they are in full compliance at all times.