No company wants to be selected for a Revenue Audit, but how can you keep your firm chugging along without the taxman’s intrusion?
Even firms that do everything meticulously by the book find Revenue audits a pain: aside from the risk of uncovering liabilities (with added interest), audits take up a huge chunk of valuable management time. Fortunately, the Revenue Commissioners don’t look to put compliant firms through the wringer. In fact, they adopt certain procedures designed to target companies with a heightened risk of intentional or unintentional non-compliance. If your business can avoid raising Revenue’s red flags, you can minimise your risk of an audit and all the hassle that goes with it.
One of the easiest ways to show up on Revenue’s radar is a late filing, or a late payment. Delays in paying and filing present two possible scenarios – a business that is struggling, or a business that isn’t as organised as it should be. Either instance increases the risk, in Revenue’s eyes, that a company is deliberately or accidentally making inaccurate returns. For that reason, it’s important to make sure that any required documents are submitted in a timely manner, and that you pay liabilities when they are due. If, for whatever reason, you are unable to do so, you should make contact with Revenue to explain the situation rather than having them chase you – if you can’t be on time, be pro-active at least.
File Correct Paperwork
Similarly, a company making mistakes in its paperwork raises certain red flags: a businessperson who submits the wrong form is more likely, in Revenue’s eyes, to misreport their income or fail to keep correct records. So, when you are making any filing to Revenue or the CRO, check the paperwork exhaustively. And, when you’re sick of the sight of a document, check it again.
Keep Overheads Proportionate
Revenue know all the tricks there are to reduce liabilities: claiming 100% business use for a vehicle, inflated home-office costs, and claiming personal leisure as a business expense. Unfortunately, because some people abuse the system to write off their personal expenses and reduce their tax bill, it puts the onus on honest businesspeople to prove that their listed business expenses are legitimate.
If your overheads are significantly larger than the average for your industry, you are running a heightened risk of an audit. Unfortunately, Revenue don’t have a way of discriminating between honest businessperson working with high costs and someone abusing the system without taking a look at the books. If you can’t do anything to control your overhead costs, make an extra effort to ensure that every expense is documented properly.
Even if you follow all these steps, your business can still be selected for an audit. However, having all your paperwork in order and keeping records will make the process far simpler, and also make officials look on any honest errors that the process uncovers more sympathetically. At DCA, we advise many companies seeking to prepare for a Revenue audit or, better yet, to avoid one by having all their paperwork in order. To see how we can help, just contact us for an initial, no-obligation meeting.