The Form 11 can be made eas­ier and this guide may even save you money, write Colin Forbes and Daryl Han­berry

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PRE­PAR­ING and fil­ing your an­nual self-as­sessed tax re­turn can be a daunt­ing task for any tax­payer. Year af­ter year, the Form 11 self-as­sessed tax re­turn grows longer and more com­plex, with the 2016 ver­sion be­ing 34 pages long with 15 pan­els and hun­dreds of data points for the anx­ious tax­payer to com­plete. Fear not, our step-by-step guide to com­plet­ing the Form 11 will make the task eas­ier and may even help you to save some tax along the way.

Not ev­ery line of the Form 11 is cov­ered in our guide but we have fo­cused on the main ar­eas that tax­pay­ers have dif­fi­culty un­der­stand­ing or where you should be aware of var­i­ous tax re­liefs/ ex­emp­tions that you may be en­ti­tled to. As al­ways, if you have in­vested in com­plex in­stru­ments such as for­eign life in­surance poli­cies or wish to claim prop­erty based in­cen­tives, you should en­gage with a pro­fes­sional tax ad­viser. PA­PER OR ON­LINE? The 2016 self-assess­ment Pay and File dead­line is Oc­to­ber 31, 2017, just over a week away. The pa­per ver­sion of the Form 11 can be found on www.rev­ If you are run­ning out of time to get your tax af­fairs in or­der be­fore this date, you could “pay and file” through the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers ROS (Rev­enue On­line Ser­vice). The dead­line is ex­tended un­til Novem­ber 14, 2017, if you choose this fa­cil­ity. The sec­ond leg of the Ire­land v Den­mark tie is be­ing played that night so be sure to “pay and file” be­fore kick-off!

As an added in­cen­tive, ROS cal­cu­lates the taxes due for you, as op­posed to you crunch­ing the num­bers on the pa­per ver­sion.

The fol­low­ing must be com­pleted on­line on or be­fore this dead­line: File the Form 11; Pay any bal­ance of in­come tax for 2016; Pay your Pre­lim­i­nary In­come Tax for 2017.

So if you need to avail of the ex­tended dead­line and have not pre­vi­ously reg­is­tered for ROS ser­vices, then you need to act quickly in the next few days. HOW DO I REG­IS­TER FOR ROS SER­VICES? In or­der to reg­is­ter for ROS, click on the Reg­is­ter for ROS link on the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers home page, www.rev­, and fol­low the be­low steps:

for your ROS Ac­cess Num­ber (RAN). This is the first step in ap­ply­ing to be­come a ROS cus­tomer. Your RAN will be sent out by post to your cho­sen ad­dress. You should al­low two or three work­ing days for this to is­sue.

for your Dig­i­tal Cer­tifi­cate. You can only com­plete this step when you have re­ceived your RAN by post. En­ter the RAN num­ber and com­plete all rel­e­vant sec­tions. A ROS Sys­tem pass­word will be posted to your cho­sen ad­dress — again you should al­low two or three work­ing days for this to is­sue.

your Dig­i­tal Cer­tifi­cate and view your ac­count. Us­ing your ROS Sys­tem pass­word you can re­trieve and down­load your ROS Dig­i­tal Cer­tifi­cate. You should name the cer­tifi­cate and al­lo­cate a pass­word to the Dig­i­tal Cer­tifi­cate.

Once you have re­trieved your ROS Dig­i­tal Cer­tifi­cate you can ac­cess ROS to file your re­turn, pay your tax and view your ac­count.

There are only 15 work­ing days be­tween today and the Novem­ber 14 ex­tended dead­line, so swift ac­tion will be needed by you in the next few days in or­der to en­sure that you can Pay and File on or be­fore Novem­ber 14, 2017.

If this is your first time fil­ing a self-assess­ment Form 11 tax re­turn, you will need to make sure you are reg­is­tered for In­come Taxes by fol­low­ing the e-reg­is­tra­tion process on the ROS web­site or by com­plet­ing the Form TR1, which can be found on www.rev­ HOW CAN I PAY MY TAX LI­A­BIL­ITY US­ING THE ROS SER­VICES? The Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers ac­cept the fol­low­ing meth­ods of pay­ment from you: Debit In­struc­tion (RDI): You will only need to do this once and it will al­low you to sub­mit a pay­ment im­me­di­ately. The amount of the pay­ment and when the pay­ment is made will be de­ter­mined solely by you. card: Pay­ments us­ing your credit card are lim­ited to card providers Visa and Master­card. If you choose this pay­ment op­tion, you must pay a trans­ac­tion charge of 1.1pc of the value of the pay­ment. This charge is purely re­lated to third-party fees in­curred by the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers in the pro­vi­sion of the ser­vice. card: Cur­rently the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers ab­sorb the charge for us­ing your debit card, how­ever, this may change in the fu­ture. Al­ways re­mem­ber to have funds in the bank ac­count you are us­ing to pay your tax li­a­bil­i­ties and en­sure that it is a cur­rent ac­count in the Sin­gle Euro­pean Pay­ments Area (SEPA), not a de­posit ac­count. WHAT IS PRE­LIM­I­NARY TAX FOR 2017? It is es­sen­tially a pay­ment-on-ac­count of your 2017 tax li­a­bil­ity. If you are a self-as­sessed tax­payer, the amount of pre­lim­i­nary tax you must pay for 2017 must be equal to or ex­ceed the lower of: 90pc of your fi­nal li­a­bil­ity for 2017, or 100pc of your fi­nal li­a­bil­ity for 2016, or 105pc of your fi­nal li­a­bil­ity for 2015 (only avail­able where pre­lim­i­nary tax is paid by di­rect debit and does not ap­ply where the tax payable for 2015 year was nil). WHAT IF I MISS TH­ESE DEAD­LINES? If you do not meet the pay-and-file re­quire­ments, in­ter­est and penal­ties will be im­posed by the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers.

The good news is that the ear­lier you file the re­turn af­ter the dead­line, the lesser the in­ter­est and penal­ties. If the 2016 re­turn is filed by De­cem­ber 31, 2017, the sur­charge penalty is 5pc of your in­come tax li­a­bil­ity for the year, sub­ject to a max­i­mum amount of €12,695. If the re­turn is filed af­ter De­cem­ber 31, 2017, the sur­charge penalty is 10pc of your tax li­a­bil­ity, sub­ject to a max­i­mum amount of €63,485.

Re­mem­ber though that the sur­charge li­a­bil­ity is cal­cu­lated with­out credit for pre­lim­i­nary tax paid on ac­count.

Also, in cal­cu­lat­ing the sur­charge, credit is al­lowed for PAYE tax de­ducted at source, un­less the charge­able per­son or their spouse/civil part­ner is a com­pany direc­tor.

You can ap­peal for the late sub­mis­sion sur­charge to be re­v­ersed, for ex­am­ple in a case where there was a ma­jor fail­ure in a com­puter sys­tem or a se­ri­ous ill­ness.

The in­ter­est rate on over­due tax in re­spect of in­come tax and cap­i­tal gains tax is cur­rently 0.0219pc per day and this may be back­dated to Oc­to­ber 31 in the pre­vi­ous year. DOES NON-PAY­MENT OF LO­CAL PROP­ERTY TAX HAVE AN IM­PACT ON MY TAX RE­TURN? If you file your Form 11 on time, but at the date of fil­ing, you have failed to:

sub­mit your LPT re­turn (for most LPT tax­pay­ers this should have been sub­mit­ted in May 2013), or

pay all out­stand­ing LPT li­a­bil­i­ties (in­clud­ing the 2017 li­a­bil­ity which was due for pay­ment ear­lier this year), or

en­ter into an agreed pay­ment ar­range­ment, a LPT sur­charge of 10pc will be added to your fi­nal tax li­a­bil­ity for 2016. Where the LPT is sub­se­quently brought up to date, the amount of the sur­charge will be capped at the amount of the LPT li­a­bil­ity in­volved. As you can see, it can prove quite costly if your LPT obli­ga­tions have not been met, so en­sure you get your LPT af­fairs up to date. I MADE A MIS­TAKE ON MY TAX RE­TURN, WHAT CAN I DO TO FIX IT? If you made a mis­take on your tax re­turn and the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers dis­cover the er­ror dur­ing an au­dit, they can im­pose penal­ties even if you try to ex­plain to the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers that you were un­aware of the rel­e­vant tax laws. The Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers will clas­sify the mis­take as care­less be­hav­iour and the level of penalty that would ap­ply will de­pend on whether the mis­take has sig­nif­i­cant tax con­se­quences.

The penal­ties could be reduced if you “go on the front foot”, no­tify the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers of the er­rors and fully co-op­er­ate with them to work out the ad­di­tional tax due.

Al­ways con­sult a pro­fes­sional tax ad­viser to help you with any com­plex tax mat­ters. COULD I BE AU­DITED? Self-assess­ment Re­turns are sub­ject to Au­dit by the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers. Tax law pro­vides that the Rev­enue Com­mis­sion­ers may make any in­quiries or take such ac­tions as are con­sid­ered nec­es­sary to ver­ify the ac­cu­racy of a Re­turn.

Tax law pro­vides for both civil penal­ties eg (pub­li­ca­tion in a list of tax de­fault­ers) and

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