Revenue To Self-Employed: Drop Dead

January 20, 2016

Two Revenue eBriefs in the past 24 hours outline new income tax exemptions on travel expense payments to teachers who do State exam work, and non-executive directors who attend corporate board meetings.

Yet no such concessions are available to self-employed small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Instead, their travel expense claims are subject to a battery of arbitrary and complex restrictions – with no leeway and serious penalties for disallowed motor and subsistence costs.

angry aggressive woman driving car

In Ireland, it always pays to pursue a career in the public or corporate sectors.

Because, if you’re brave & independent enough to stand on your own two feet and run your own small business, you’ll be nailed to the wall at every turn.

Don’t Let Your ROS Digital Certificate Lapse

March 4, 2014

A new Revenue web security measure means that all pre-2014 Digital Certificates for the ROS system will expire on 27 March next.

In the meantime, ROS users will be prompted to renew their Digital Certificates and update their passwords.

Revenue OnLine ROS

This is a very simple process which takes less than 2 minutes to complete.

If you are an infrequent ROS user, you should ensure that you log on to the system before 27 March, and update your Certificate.

Otherwise it will expire and you will then have to apply for a fresh Cert before you can again access ROS.

The Revenue eBrief on this issue is here.

Revenue Resume Pensioners Tax Hunt

February 8, 2013

Revenue are once again pursuing pensioners with tax arrears, a year after their Chairperson apologised for causing confusion and distress to senior citizens.

Today’s Revenue eBrief to accountants announced a fresh investigation into pensioners’ tax affairs.

They confirm that they are comparing pensioners’ tax returns against Dept of Social Protection (DSP) pension payments data. They will then identify pensioners who have undeclared or under-declared their State pension income.

This exercise covers the 2010 tax year and prior years.

Tax & Pensioners

Revenue are now inviting accountants to review their pensioner clients’ tax return records to ensure their DSP pension incomes are correctly declared.  Otherwise, the provisions of the Code of Practice for Revenue Audit will apply.

These include an obligation for an individual with tax arrears to make a Qualifying Disclosure of their liability and pay the sum outstanding along with interest and penalties.

Failure to do so can leave the taxpayer with increased penalties, further interest charges and possible publication in the Tax Defaulters List.

Happily, the majority of pensioners are exempt from income tax.

If you are aged 65 or older, and your total annual income amounted to less than:

  • €20,000 (single/widowed) or
  • €40,000 (married/civil partner)

in the tax years 2007-2010, you will be fully exempt from income tax in those years.

From 2011 onwards, these limits are:

  • €18,000 (single/widowed)
  • €36,000 (married/civil partner).

If you have tax concerns in relation to your pension income, you can allay your fears by obtaining quality professional advice.

Burying Bad News: VAT on Swimming, Gyms in 2013

December 5, 2012

Back in 2001, an aide to Tony Blair’s Labour UK government got into serious bother when, in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, she emailed colleagues, saying “It is now a very good day to get out anything we want to bury.”

I’m wondering has someone in Revenue been thinking likewise this morning.

With Budget 2013 only hours away, a Revenue eBrief has confirmed that VAT will be charged on public or community swimming pools, gyms and other sports & leisure facilities with effect from 1 January 2013.

This means that if you decide to improve your state of health, get fit, or lose weight by swimming or visiting a local gym in the New Year, you will now be charged VAT for the privilege.

Gym exercise

It also means that children (including children with special needs) will also be charged VAT on swimming lessons, physical education, summer camps and similar activities in public facilities.

The updated Revenue VAT manual confirms that VAT will apply to

“Facilities for taking part in sporting or physical education activities (including) premises used, designed or adapted for taking part in sporting or physical education activities, such as, swimming pools, gymnasiums, leisure centres, bowling alleys, driving ranges together with lands let for fishing and shooting and outdoor centres that cater for water and adventure activities”

The rate of VAT to be charged is 9%. A whopping 23% will apply to related services (equipment hire etc) when these are subject to a separate charge.

This being Budget Day, this cruel VAT charge will go largely unnoticed, as we all inevitably focus on the various tax and public spending measures in the Budget.  Therefore the clever timing of the announcement is set to insulate both Government and Revenue from a storm of protest that might otherwise have engulfed them.

It still pays to bury bad news.

VAT Refund Scheme boost for Farmers

April 5, 2011

Ireland’s farmers received a welcome boost today as Revenue announced an extension to the VAT refund scheme for farmers.

Farmers who are not VAT-registered can reclaim VAT paid by them on:

  • farm buildings
  • fencing and other fixed structures
  • land drainage and
  • land reclamation

VAT Refund Boost for Farmers


Today, a Revenue eBrief confirms that that VAT refunds may now be claimed in respect of

  • Concrete underpasses,  installed to facilitate the movement of livestock beneath a public road.
  • Hedgerows planted by a farmer for the purpose of stock proofing. This does not include hedgerows grown for decorative, ornamental or domestic shelter purposes.
  • Ploughing and re-seeding works completed as part of a land reclamation project.


Eligible farmers can claim VAT repayments on Form VAT58 in accordance with the  Value Added Tax (Refund of Tax) (No. 25) Order 1993, which is also online. Farmers may claim VAT refunds within four tax years of incurring the relevant expenditure.

Please note that this scheme does not apply to VAT-registered farmers, who may reclaim VAT on their regular VAT returns but are subject to VAT on sales of farming produce and livestock.