In the first half of 2012 alone there were 639 income tax defaulters named on the Revenue’s tax defaulters list. Taxback.com say that this should strike a chord with self-assessed taxpayers in Westmeath at a time of year when thousands of self-employed, non-PAYE employees and a growing number of PAYE employees are dreading filing their tax return with just 2 weeks until the October 31 tax return deadline. Taxback.com say that in keeping with other years they expect that a large number of those who are due to file a tax return simply will not do so and a further group will file but will fail to meet the deadline. The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM ) Report 2011 shows that 2,200 people started a new business in Ireland every month in 2011 which means that the number of those required to file a tax return is also growing.
Traditionally, up to 20 per cent fail to file in time, but with ongoing losses and reduced allowances on property investments, many of those filing fear a massive tax bill and may choose to bury their heads on the issue.
Christine Keily, tax specialist with taxback.com commented, “Westmeath is towards the middle of the table on the tax defaulters list this year to date, with approximately 17 names on the list for failing to file a return. But anyone local will know seeing a person’s name on this list is a distinct reminder of how much they wouldn’t want their own name on the list for all to see. If you have affordability issues, then it’s imperative that you make them known to the Revenue and it’s equally important to ensure that you are claiming every possible allowance, so get good advice.
“Generally, the later into October information is received, the harder it is to guarantee that the deadline will be met and therefore people may incur a fine for late submission.
“Revenue is fastidious when it comes to self-assessed tax payers filing tax returns and is consistently strict on imposing penalties. Judging by the returns we submitted last year, where we were often asked to also file for previous years as well, we believe that up to one in five newly established self-employed individuals must be failing to file in the correct year and we guestimate that this figure will grow this year. This will inevitably lead to fines and penalties, though the sooner it’s dealt with the lower the likely cost.”
The tax experts contend that those who think they will get away with tardy efforts to file or not filing at all grossly underestimate the resolve of the Revenue. Taxback.com says that penalties for non-compliance vary but that there is some standardisation in assessing fines etc.
Keily continued, “Returns for income arising in the year ending 31st December 2011 must be filed on or before Wednesday October 31 to avoid a surcharge. The surcharge amounts to 5 per cent of the amount of tax payable for the period subject to a maximum surcharge of €12,695, where the return is filed within two months of the deadline. Otherwise if the return is filed more than two months after the deadline, a surcharge of 10 per cent is imposed subject to a maximum of €63,485. In the worst case scenario, people may be faced with tax geared penalties which can be as much as 100 per cent of the tax liability.”