Revenue scrap ROS online Amend Tax Return facility

April 30, 2012

Revenue have withdrawn their ROS facility to amend an income tax return online.

Back in September 2010, Revenue added a useful feature to their ROS site which allowed a user to amend online a previously-filed Form 11 Income Tax return.  At the time, I heartily welcomed this move and hailed it as ‘an important innovation’. In the intervening 20 months or so, I used it on a number of occasions, most commonly as a particularly easy way of claiming a tax credit or allowance that had been omitted from an original tax return.  I found the facility to be both useful and straightforward to use.

This morning I was reviewing the tax records of a client who had reached 65 years of age in late 2010 but hadn’t previously notified either myself or Revenue of this fact. He was therefore entitled to an Age Credit for 2010, along with PRSI exemption and partial Income Levy exemption for that year.

I accessed ROS to amend his 2010 tax return accordingly but I could not find any links to access the ‘Amend Form 11’ facility. A quick google search yielded a blank apart from my own blog post of September 2010 which outlined the steps involved in amending a return on ROS and a link to the relevant Revenue eBrief which was issued around that time.  I was dismayed to find the eBrief link was dead, bringing me to a ‘Page not found’ page within the site.

Increasingly puzzled, I tried the ROS help section of and its ROS FAQ – Form 11 page which told me:

“Can I avail of ROS to file an amended Form 11?     
Unfortunately at this time if you have previously filed a Form 11, on either paper or through ROS, you will not be presented with the option of filing an amended return.”

Finally admitting defeat, I then had to resort to writing a letter to Revenue asking them to (i) update and amend my client’s 2010 Form 11 accordingly; and (ii)  issue a new Income Tax assessment including the Age Credit and exemptions. My letter has just gone off in the post. I expect that it will reach Revenue in 1-2 days time and they will presumably deal with it in due course. No matter how efficiently they manually process it, the service cannot match the speed and efficiency of the automatic ROS service.

I am disappointed that Revenue have withdrawn the facility to amend returns online via ROS, and it seems to be a retrograde step for everyone concerned.

It is doubly disappointing that they didn’t alert accountants and taxpayers of the move, choosing instead to merely delete the eBrief that had previously explained the feature. Maybe I’m expecting too much, but a fresh eBrief announcing the change would at least have made ROS users aware that the feature no longer existed – saving both their own and their clients’ time. Hopefully Revenue will reintroduce the facility before too long.

Budget 2011 – Business Measures

December 7, 2010

The Budget includes a range of measures affecting the Business sector including  changes to Relevant Contracts Tax, a revamp of the Business Expansion Scheme and the scrapping of several business tax reliefs.

Budget 2011 Cuts - Brian Lenihan Minister for Finance

Relevant Contracts Tax

The Relevant Contracts Tax (RCT) system, which applies to construction, forestry and meat processing contractors, is being reformed.

The current RCT withholding tax rate of 35% is being replaced by a two-tier system, in an effort to combat the black economy.

  • A lower rate of 20% will apply to subcontractors ‘registered for tax with an established compliance record’
  • The existing rate of 35% will apply to ‘subcontractors not registered for tax’.

The RCT monthly repayment system is being abolished, and will be replaced by an offset system.

In addition, Principal contractors will be subject to a stronger RCT reporting system in order to ‘enhance compliance and reduce the opportunities for fraud’.

Employment and Investment Incentive

The Business Expansion Scheme is to be revamped and renamed as the ‘Employment and Investment Incentive’, with a big increase in the amount that companies can raise under the Scheme.

Relief for Energy Efficiency Measures

A new scheme is to be introduced to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient. Tax relief will apply to expenditure up to €10,000. This will be allowed at the standard rate of income tax.

Tax Reliefs Abolished

The following Tax Reliefs will be abolished, with effect from 1 January 2011 unless otherwise stated.

  • Tax Exemption for Patent Royalties
  • Tax relief on Loans to invest in certain companies.
  • Accelerated capital allowances for Farm Pollution Control.
  • Tax exemption from BIK for Employer Provided Childcare.
  • Abolition of tax relief on subscriptions to professional bodies.
  • Capital expenditure on Mining plant & machinery and plant
  • Approved Share Options Scheme (from 24 November 2010)
  • Tax relief for new shares purchased by employees.
  • Tax exemption relating to National Co-Operative Farm Relief Services Ltd.

16 Nov. ROS deadline applies to Pensions Relief

November 8, 2010

Chartered Accountants Ireland have confirmed today that the deadline for paying Pension Contributions that attract backdated tax relief for 2009 is extended from 31 October to 16 November. This applies where an individual has filed their 2009 Income Tax return by 16 November, and paid any 2009 tax balance via ROS by the same date.

In a statement issued  today, Chartered Accountants Ireland stated  “Following a request for confirmation from our members, we wish to advise all readers that where a taxpayer qualifies for the extended ROS Pay & File deadline of 16 November 2010, this extended deadline also applies to RAC, PRSA and AVC contributions.  Readers are reminded that in order to avail of this extended deadline, both the return and the payment must be made online.  Where only one of these actions is completed through ROS, the extension will not apply.”

As yet I don’t have a link for the statement but I will add this when it is online.

Start-ups’ Tax Relief is a Big Disappointment

June 14, 2010

Start-up Companies can now avail of a major new tax relief, but unfortunately it is not nearly as attractive as it sounds.

The Revenue Commissioners  this week published a detailed guide to the new Corporation Tax relief for new start-up companies.

How the Scheme Works

Qualifying companies will be fully exempt from Corporation Tax on profits up to €320,000 each year.  There is partial relief available for companies with taxable earnings above this figure. The relief applies for the first three years of trading.

To qualify a company:

  • must have been incorporated on or after 14 October 2008,  and
  • must commence trading in 2009 or 2010, and
  • must carry on a genuinely new trade.

If the company merely takes over an existing trade, or a part of a trade, carried on by another individual or company, it will not qualify.

Corporation Tax Exemption Yes Minister

Yes Minister, its a great idea, now how do we stop it working?

Some industry sectors are barred from claiming the relief.  These include:

  • land  and property development
  • mining exploration and extraction of natural resources
  • fishing or agricultural activities
  • export-related activities
  • agricultural production, processing or marketing
  • road freight and haulage
  • the coal sector

Is the Relief any good?

The relief will be a lucrative one for any company lucky enough to use it to the maximum extent possible. A €120,000 tax saving over three years is not to be sneezed at. That said, it is hard to tell just how many companies will benefit greatly from it – I suspect that very few will.

For a start, many prominent business sectors are excluded, presumably in order to comply with EU State Aid rules.

In addition, most start-ups don’t earn enough profits in the start-up phase to have large Corporation Tax bills. Many lose money in the early stages and only recoup these losses later on.  For the minority that are profitable from day one, our low 12.5% Corporation Tax rate isn’t exactly a massive burden.

I have yet to see a company fold because they couldn’t afford to pay their Corporation Tax bills, yet problems with other taxes, namely VAT, PAYE/PRSI  and Relevant Contracts Tax can cripple a business overnight.

And if a company generates large profits and avoids Corporation Tax on these earnings, they still face a substantial tax hit if they wish to distribute these profits to shareholders.

And finally…

This tax relief has been widely welcomed and hailed as a much-needed boost for enterprise.  I must confess that I disagree. In fact,  I can’t help viewing it as a major disappointment. It reminds me a bit of the culture of the old “Yes Minister” TV series, where worthwhile political initiatives were announced with great fanfare only be rendered useless by bureaucracy and red tape.

What do you think?

Barack Obama’s Tax Return is online

April 20, 2010

US President Barack Obama’s 2009 Income Tax return has been published online.  On 15 April, the tax return deadline day for all U.S. citizens, the details of Mr. Obama’s tax return were officially released by the White House.   It makes interesting reading.

The return tells us that the  President earned  over $5 million in 2009 from his activities as an author. His books “The Audacity of Hope” and “Dreams from My Father” have sold in massive volumes worldwide.

President Obama paid almost $1.8m tax in 2009

President Obama’s gross earnings from this source amounted to $5,661,666, against which he claimed deductions for $471,022 in “commissions & fees”,  $866 for “office expenses” and a princely $279 for “other expenses”.    The President’s total tax bill for 2009 amounted to $1,792,414, or about 32% of his income.

His bill would have been a lot smaller had Mr. Obama been in a position to use the Irish tax exemption for authors of “original and creative” works.  Frankly, I am surprised Bertie Ahern forgot to tell him.

Revenue confirm 2010 ROS Tax Return Deadline

April 1, 2010

The Revenue Commissioners announced yesterday that the 31 October filing deadline for 2009 self-assessment tax returns is being extended again this year until Tuesday 16 November, for online returns.

To qualify for this extension, the taxpayer (or their accountant) must file the return using the online ROS system.  In addition, the following tax balances must also be paid online by 16 November, using the ROS system:

  • Preliminary Tax for 2010; and
  • Income Tax balance due for 2009,

The extended deadline does not apply unless:

  • the return is filed on ROS; and
  • the appropriate tax payment is made using ROS.

Otherwise the existing deadline of 31 October applies to both the payment due and the filing of the return.

I also understand that the extended 16 November deadline also applies for the purposes of RAC, AVC and PRSA pension payments, where a taxpayer pays & files via ROS by 16 November next.  Such pension payments, if made by 16 November 2010, can attract backdated tax relief against 2009 tax liabilities.

Again if the taxpayer doesn’t qualify for the 16 November extension, any such pension payments will only attract the tax relief if paid by 31 October next.

For more, see the Revenue announcement.