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How Santa got his Tax Back

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also the time of year when people are likely to be more in need of an extra bit of cash in their wallets or accounts. Having possibly spent more than we intended to on Christmas presents having sworn that this year would be different, we may likely find ourselves in need of an extra boost of cash flow for the New Year.

Here at EcovisDCA we are always thinking of our friends and clients and, particularly at this time of year when our minds take more of a shift towards those we love and care about we thought that this would be a good opportunity to remind you all that the deadline for the four-year time limit for claiming tax back on expenses such as prescriptions, doctor fees, and tuition fees is fast approaching.

This may have fallen down the list of priorities in the run up to Christmas, but it is worth noting that the deadline for claiming expenses incurred in 2013 is 31st December 2017. It may be a wonderful way to start off the New Year on the right foot having completed your claim which has likely been on your mind for some time.

If you submit your claim to Revenue before 31st December 2017, you will be entitled to claim for all four years; 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, and you may be surprised to find that you are entitled to a refund. As always, the recommended route is through the PAYE Service on their MyAccount system, which has made making claims and filings infinitely easier in recent years.

Further information can be accessed on the Revenue website and as always our advice is to get your claim in as soon as possible and avoid waiting until the deadline is upon you.

Should you require any assistance or guidance on any financial or business matters, please do not hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA, where we are always happy to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

The Offshore Blues

With the Tax deadlines having just passed, taxation has been a hot topic of conversation in recent weeks, we have spoken in the past about the ways in which there will be an increased clamp down on tax evasion and this week, Revenue have confirmed that there is an inquiry underway to identify tax payers engaged in offshore tax evasion and avoidance. Recent leaks in the celebrity world have brought issues such as these to the forefront of public consciousness and now we are seeing this become a higher priority for Revenue themselves.

Changes made in the Finance Act 2016 means that now any tax payers engaged in offshore activities may face larger penalties and even prosecution for defaulting. The deadline for coming forward with declarations on offshore tax liabilities was May 5th 2017, and despite receiving over 2700 disclosures, it is thought that there may be many others.

As we have discussed previously, Revenue are embracing technological advances in order to tackle tax evasion and will be employing a system of data analytics to combat this offshore issue. According to Daniel Sinnot, Head of Revenue’s Research

“Data analytics is an integral element of Revenue decision making, and it works by having a ‘whole of taxpayer’ view. We use proprietary software to match the data that we receive from other tax administrations to Revenue’s taxpayer records, then cross-check against prior returns to ensure all relevant income and assets have been declared. We also feed the data into our social network analysis and anomaly detection tools, to highlight suspicious cases. Then, as we begin to carry out risk based compliance interventions, we use the results of our interventions to train machine-learning models that further refine our ability to recognise and target the riskiest cases.”  

Mr. Rigney also stated that Revenue study and examine the information published in the wider media, including all allegations within the so-called “Paradise Papers”. The disclosures already made have revealed that over half were related to British-based liabilities with others referring to the UK, France, Spain and Switzerland. Revenue have revealed that almost a third of the disclosures related to property, with 20% relating to shares.

It is clear that tax evasion remains a top priority for Revenue and as always we recommend early and efficient filing before deadlines to avoid any penalties or issues that may delay processing. Revenue have stated that they will continue to keep this as a priority and will investigate further as more information emerges.

Should you have any queries relating to any business or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we are always happy to help you and your business.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

CRO – A Costly Omission

We have spoken quite a lot in recent months about the various ways that Revenue will be clamping down on tax fraud issues and late filing. We also touched more recently on the fact that the CRO (Companies Registration Office) would be getting stricter on late filers, particularly companies with a history of late filing. In the past there has been a certain amount of leeway given to companies, and this year there was an allowance of two days given for online filing as a result of disruptions caused to businesses as a result of Hurricane Ophelia.

These changes to the way in which the CRO will manage late filings were placed into immediate effect this month as Judge Brennan presided over more than twenty cases of companies who were either late to file, or neglected to file their Annual Returns and Accounts. Prosecution notices were issued in early October to companies with a consistent history of late or not presented returns.

The CRO utilise a ranking system in order to identify those companies with the most consistent poor filing history. This system totals their fees owed over a period of time and upon another late or neglected annual return, those at the top of the table are selected for prosecution. Should these companies file on time, they are removed from the register altogether.

Fines issued during these proceedings ranged from €500 to €5000, including late fees, which I’m sure we can all agree is a very expensive mistake to make, which is easily rectified by ensuring that your returns and accounts are filed well in advance of the deadline each year.

With the CRO considering their next round of prosecutions, we would hate to see any of our Clients caught in the crosshairs due to an omission such as this.

Should you require any help or guidance on these or any other business and finance matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA, where we are always happy to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Income Tax Deadlines 2017

As the deadline for paper filing has come and gone as of October 31st, the focus now shifts to the online pay and file deadline. This tax season has been an unusual one in many ways. It’s not very often that we find ourselves in a hurricane in Ireland, and even rarer that such a storm could bring with it tidings of good.

Revenue has extended the online pay and file deadline for self employed people as a result of Storm Ophelia and the business time lost as a result of office closures. The previous deadline was November 14th, and has now been shifted to midnight on November 16th to allow people to recoup that lost time.

Revenue has also announced that their help-desks will be open until 8pm each night leading up to this deadline, and will remain open until midnight on the deadline day itself. This is to ensure that any issues are dealt with in a timely manner to avoid late filing.

As always, our advice is to file early and avoid an over-reliance on extended deadlines where possible. Should you have any queries or concerns related to this, please feel free to contact us.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

CRO Getting Tougher On Non-Compliance

We have spoken in the past about the many ways in with Revenue are beginning to clamp down on tax issues in a massive way in recent months. With tax return deadlines having been extended the belief is now that there should be no excuse for late filing so there is set to be a massive tightening on deadline rules from this point on.

Recently the CRO (Companies Registration Office) have announced that they will begin prosecuting companies who have not filed or are late in filing their Annual Returns and Accounts. In previous years there was a certain level of profiling involved with selecting companies or directors for prosecution, the idea being that such severe punishment was not needed for first time offenders. It is thought that the same system will be in place on this occasion, with persistent defaulters being the first to be targeted and dealt with.

Any company summoned in this way is liable to face fines of up to €5000 plus costs. These fines will be in addition to any normal CRO late filing penalties. The CRO are also set to clamp down on companies requesting their own extension on filing in order to avoid prosecution.

This is a much tougher stance than the CRO have taken on these issues in the past. Far from being a campaign of ‘scare tactics’ however, this is a campaign meant to encourage persistent late filers to begin to file on time each year in order to avoid these unnecessary penalties and further heartache.

As always, our own advice remains to get all documentation in order throughout the year and ensure that your returns are filed on time, even avoiding utilising the extensions if possible so that you will be certain that everything is in order. It is critical to keep well organised files on everything throughout the year to avoid a last minute scramble before the deadline.

As always we are available for any advice or guidance you may require on business or finance matters.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

No Budging the Budget – Budget 2018 Overview

The Budget is a contentious subject each years and a word which tends to eclipse all others in the weeks following its announcement. This comes as no surprise, as a country which has suffered enormous economic downturn in the recent past for there to be an enormous focus on an event such as the Budget which often gives a general idea of how heavy or light we can expect our wallets to feel in the coming year.

 

Budget 2018 was announced this week by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. There were a great many predictions made in the week before the announcement but now that we have the facts to hand we will be breaking down the main points of the Budget and what it will mean for you and your business.

 

Positively, Ireland’s economic growth continues to rise, and Minister Donohoe has stated that he expects this to continue into 2018. This is welcome news for those who may not be seeing the economic recovery in their own pockets as yet, as there is a tentative promise that they may begin to do so in the coming months. Similarly, it was noted that unemployment figures are expected to continue to fall from the current 6.1% to 5.7% in 2018.

 

Here are the main points to note from Budget 2018:

 

Income Tax:

  • The entry point for the higher tax rate of 40% will rise from €33,800 to €34,550.
  • The 5% USC rate will drop by 0.25%, whilst the 2.5% rate is set to drop by 0.5%.

 

Property:

  • Stamp Duty on non-residential property being raised from 2% to 6%.
  • The Government are allotting €1.8million towards housing for 2018.
  • Mortgage Interest Relief for loans from 2004-2012 to be slowly phased out by 2020. Reducing to 70% in 2018, 50 in 2019 and 25 until the end of 2020.
  • The help to buy scheme is to be retained.

 

Business:

  • There will be a Brexit loan scheme of up to €300million made available to SMEs to assist with short term needs.
  • No changes to VAT rates for tourism and services sectors.
  • Social Welfare
  • All payments to be increased by €5 at the end of March 2018.
  • Social Welfare Christmas bonus to be paid at 85% of the usual rate. This is a €20 increase on last year.

 

Personal:

  • No changes to cost of petrol and diesel.
  • Cost of 20 cigarettes to rise by 50cent.
  • Sugar tax to be applied to sweetened drinks containing 8g of sugar per 100ml.

 

Health:

  • Prescription charges to be reduced for all under 70s with medical card by 50cent per item.
  • Threshold for Drugs Payment Scheme to fall from €144 to €134.
  • Home Carer tax credit to be increased to €1200 per year.

 

As always we are available for any advice or guidance you may require on business or finance matters.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

The Supernanny Tax

Recently, the Revenue Commissioners have collected approximately €61million in taxes, penalties and interest during their ongoing investigation of over 800 medical consultants. It is believed that there was a significant underpayment of taxes by 276 consultants who had incorporated their private medical practices and other companies. These investigations are currently ongoing and to date, 36 consultants have been published on the Revenue’s list of tax defaulters. The findings include so-called “future uplift” or the estimation of future taxes collected.

Chairman of the Revenue, Niall Cody has been recently quoted as saying of the investigation:

“These are high-wealth individuals. These are people with significant incomes and there has been significant underpayment of taxes.”

This investigation has been underway since 2010, when Revenue suspected that a wrongful tax planning strategy was being marketed towards medical consultants. The incorporation of medical practices can be a legal form of tax avoidance, however many of the practices registered have been found to have no commercial reality, positioning these particular practices in the realm of illegal tax avoidance.

The chairman was also quoted as saying that these individuals had seemingly forgotten the “legitimate boundaries” in relation to tax matters and had wrongfully claimed expenses that were either non-existent or not relevant to the business they were claimed against. Nanny costs and private home expenses were among the expenses wrongfully claimed in some cases. Other issues identified are wages paid to underage family members. Mr Cody explained that in one case expenses were claimed for the services of a child working on a website “because the child was proficient in IT and the consultant wasn’t.”

825 cases have been opened in this investigation, with 552 cases now closed. In all cases closed to date it has been found that the consultants were not in fact acting in goodwill and were evading taxes wilfully and under full knowledge.

Wages were paid to underage family members by some consultants. Mr Cody described one case in which the expenses were claimed for the services of a child for work on a website, “because the child was proficient in IT and the consultant wasn’t.”

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association and tax advisers have asked Revenue to publish guidance on goodwill for medical practices.

Mr Cody was also quoted as explaining that if it seems too good to be true it is probably unethical which is a good rule for your tax matters. If you require any further guidance or advice on your own tax or financial matters, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

PAYE UP

In recent years life and business have been taking a turn for the seemingly more convenient with it becoming increasingly easy to complete important tasks and meet deadlines remotely or via phone. Banking too became more convenient with online banking beginning to take over and allowing customers to complete many banking transactions online. Similarly, issues like tax submission etc. have become more convenient with the advent of online systems and the availability of important submission forms to download.

The Revenue website is one area which has been making a marked move towards online services with many day-to-day checks and queries being able to be answered via the ‘myAccount’ area of the Revenue website. This week, Revenue have announced that development of the myAccount system is ongoing and that there would be changes imminent in the coming weeks, which we felt might be relevant to you.

Revenue have announced that from the middle of June, their PAYE anytime service would no longer be available. This is due to the ongoing works on the website and the findings that the service is not easily accessible on mobile devices. This shows a very marked belief in progress as the need to have all services easily accessed via a tablet or smartphone showcases our current and continued reliance on these devices. The PAYE anytime service was released in 2005 and has certainly served its time and purpose well but it is time to move on.

PAYE business will now be completed via myAccount through newly enhanced PAYE Services, easily accessed on all mobile devices. Interestingly, this will also be available through the very modern RevApp allowing you to have your tax issues and queries resolved at the push of a button.

Through these new services you will be able to:

  • Manage your tax 2017.
  • Review your tax 2013 – 2016.
  • Request an End of Year Statement (P21).
  • Add a Job or Pension.
  • View your Tax Credit Certificates and End of Year Statements (P21).

The new Revenue website will be available to view from early June on all mobile devices and PCs, we are never ones to complain about convenience.

Should you require any help, advice or guidance on your own tax or other business and financial matters, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at EcovisDCA where we will be happy to help.

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Offshore Disclosure Notification

It can often be difficult to remain abreast of changes to procedures in the financial sector if your business is not operating within this sector. Unfortunately it is essential to be aware of any changes which may affect your business operations.

The Finance Bill 2016 introduced a number of changes relating to Qualifying Disclosures made to the Revenue Commissioners regarding existing offshore assets as well as offshore income and gains. In recent days the Revenue Commissioners have been issuing correspondence regarding these changes in order to keep businesses informed ahead of the changes being put into place, so it is important to read all information carefully to ensure you understand these changes.

These new changes will be in effect from May 1st 2017 and will relate to disclosure which includes any of the below outside of the Republic of Ireland.

  • Income or gains arising or accruing outside of the Republic of Ireland.
  • Relevant accounts – applies to both bank accounts and share accounts.
  • Relevant property.

These changes mean that any disclosures made to the Revenue Commissioners from May 1st 2017 onwards relating to offshore assets, income or gains will not be afforded any mitigation of penalties, meaning that the penalty will be 100% of the underpaid tax. Disclosures made before this date will benefit from the usual mitigation of penalties imposed by Revenue. This can often significantly reduce the amount payable. As such, waiting until after this date can result in a significantly higher payment being due and we would advise against waiting in order to reduce this risk.

Should you have any concerns, queries or require further information on these or any other business and financial matters please don’t hesitate to contact us we are always available to help.

 

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY

Voluntary Strike off VS Liquidation

Unfortunately, it is not always prudent or financially viable to keep your business going. To assist you if this is the case, we will today be discussing two ways in which your company can be formally closed down. We will be focusing on Voluntary Company Strike Off and Members Voluntary Liquidation – two very different processes which should not be confused. Rather than incurring the on-going costs of continuing to file annual returns, you can choose to either liquidate or strike the company off. It is inadvisable to simply abandon your company as this can incur ongoing costs as well as causing legal trouble down the line.

Voluntary Company Strike off is the process wherein a company is formally de-registered from the Register of Companies and the Revenue Commissioner. The liquidation process involves the appointment of a liquidator to collect and assign any existing assets.

Voluntary Strike Off is often seen as a quicker and more cost effective option than liquidation. This option is available to companies which have had little or no activity and have no more than €150 in assets or liabilities. Voluntary Strike Off leaves an option to restore the business open for a period of 20 years following the date of dissolution.

Members Voluntary Liquidation is the alternative option for companies which have had activity and remain solvent at the time of cessation. Members Voluntary Liquidation is often seen as the more correct way to dispose of a company as it is not possible to resurrect the company after liquidation.

Voluntary Strike Off is also a cheaper option than Members Voluntary Liquidation despite its inherent lack of finality,

If you require any further information on either Voluntary Strike Off or Members Voluntary Liquidation or indeed any business or financial matters please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help.

 

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DCA PARTNERSDECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY