Many businesspeople are facing up to a hard deadline – October 31 – for filing returns and paying tax to Revenue. Adopting a few simple guidelines should help make it a little bit less daunting.
Many self-employed people frantically scratching out a living in Ireland today are dreading Halloween. That’s not because of an aversion to trick-or-treaters: rather, they simply don’t know how they will prepare their tax returns and pay the Revenue what they owe by this intimidating deadline.
If you’re struggling to file your tax return, it’s easy to fall into a trap of putting it off, rushing your return or failing to engage constructively with the revenue when you have a problem. While these are understandable responses to a potentially tricky situation, they’ll only make things worse. Instead, keep these four key rules in mind.
When a major project looks impossible to tackle, the start-date often gets pushed back to ‘when I have time’ – which is code for ‘never’. Don’t expect to get through the entire return in one sitting, but tackle it piece by piece depending on how much time you can give it in a day. Even at this stage, most people should easily be able to file on time if they can allocate an hour a day to it for the next week.
As you rush to complete the return, you will be tempted to take short cuts and rough estimates where getting accurate figures will take a few more hours. You might even rationalise it by saying that the Revenue won’t audit someone like you. But they can. And if they do, that shortcut will take a lot more time – and money – to straighten out. Resist the temptation to cut corners, because the risk is too significant.
When you are up against it, don’t just go to ground. Engage with the Revenue to advise them of the situation, even if it is just to let them know that the return will be a couple of days late. Contact is recorded on your file, and a history of engaging to try and resolve issues will come in handy if you’re looking for future flexibility.
If you have the cash on hand to cover your tax liability, then you’re in luck. However, even if you don’t, you should make preparations to pay up as soon as possible. The Revenue are aware that businesses currently face a cash-crunch, and are open to working out payment plans with people. Once again, engagement is the key issue here.
At DCA, we have a lot of experience in negotiating with the Revenue to get our clients the breathing room they need. We can also help, even at this late stage, to file your returns in a timely manner. Just contact us and we can set up an initial, no-obligation meeting to discuss your needs.