This article was first published in the June 2015 Ireland edition of Accounting and Business magazine.

ROS extended deadline confirmed 

Revenue has confirmed the extended 2015 Revenue Online Service (ROS) income tax pay and file deadline as 12 November 2015. As usual, this deadline only applies when you both pay and file via ROS. This deadline also applies to ROS capital acquisitions tax returns for gifts/inheritances with valuation dates in the year ended 31 August 2015.

Government publishes spring statement

The government published its spring statement at the end of April. The key announcements in the statement were:

  • The total budget adjustment in Budget 2016 will be between €1.2bn and €1.5bn and will be split 50/50 between tax and expenditure measures.
  • The government intends to continue to reduce the tax burden for middle-income earners over the next five years. 
  • Legislation to introduce a knowledge development box will be included in Finance Bill 2015. 
  • A national economic dialogue will be launched in July involving consultation on Budget measures between government and stakeholders.

Speaking in the Dáil about the statement, Taoiseach Enda Kenny outlined the government’s plans on income tax and universal social charge (USC):

‘Following the income tax cuts introduced earlier this year and consistent with the statement of the government priorities agreed last July, we will cut the 7% rate of USC on all of those earning less than €70,000 per year.

‘We will also end the unfair tax treatment for the self-employed and small businesses, starting in the next Budget with those self-employed people on lower incomes.’

Revenue releases 2014 annual report

Revenue’s annual report for 2014 has been published. The key points include:

  • Some €14.4bn of tax collected, an increase of 9.3% on 2013 and the fourth successive year-on-year increase in exchequer returns. 
  • Rates of timely tax returns and payments for business taxes ranged from 84% for SMEs to 99% for the largest taxpayers.
  • More than 8,900 taxpayers participated in phased payment arrangements covering €104m in tax debt.
  • Some 437,000 compliance interventions conducted, yielding €610m. The construction, rental and retail sectors generated the highest yields.
  • Qualifying work to the value of more than €385m has been recorded on the Home Renovation Incentive Scheme.
  • Revenue is recruiting 400 new staff in 2015.

Living City Initiative launched

The Living City Initiative has been launched with effect from 5 May 2015. The initiative provides tax relief for the refurbishment or conversion of certain buildings in designated urban areas. The residential element of the relief provides for an income tax deduction for owner occupiers who renovate certain dwelling houses. The commercial element of the relief provides for capital allowances over seven years in respect of work done on certain commercial properties. 

Medical insurance relief notes published

Revenue has released information notes for employees and employers on calculating tax relief for medical insurance. Finance (No. 2) Act 2013 introduced a ceiling on the quantum of medical premiums qualifying for tax relief of €1,000 for an adult and €500 for a child under 18 (or aged between 18 and 23 and in full-time education). In March, finance minister Michael Noonan announced that the adult ceiling of €1,000 will be available for all adults aged 21 and over with effect from 1 May 2015.

Remote betting tax changes to take effect

Finance minister Michael Noonan has ordered the commencement of the Betting (Amendment) Act 2015. He also ordered the commencement of elements of recent finance acts in relation to the licensing provisions for remote bookmakers and betting intermediaries. These provisions will:

  • Require remote bookmakers to pay 1% betting duty on bets entered into with persons in the state.
  • Require remote betting intermediaries to pay betting intermediary duty (15% of commission) in respect of commission charges levied on persons availing of betting intermediary facilities within the state. 
  • Extend exemption from VAT to bets that are subject to excise duty and are entered into by remote bookmakers with persons in the state.
  • Extend exemption from VAT to commissions earned by betting exchanges from bets entered into on the exchange by persons in the state which are subject to excise duty.

The changes will come into effect from 1 August 2015.

Revenue publishes manual on DIRT refund

Revenue has published a new manual on deposit interest retention tax (DIRT) refunds for first-time buyers. To qualify for a refund the first-time buyer must purchase or self-build their place of residence between 14 October 2014 and 31 December 2017. The refund is limited to DIRT on savings in the 48 months prior to purchase/completion, up to the maximum of 20% of the purchase price/completion value. The property must be registered for local property tax.

ROS transitions from Java to JavaScript

Revenue has advised ROS users that they will have to transition from Java to JavaScript before the end of 2015 in order to be able to continue to log in. 

However, if users update too early, they will not be able to access the European VAT Refund Claims and PAYE tab to link to the PAYE Anytime service. This functionality will be added in June. 

Therefore, practitioners are advised to wait until the June update is released before changing over to JavaScript. The ROS Help Centre on Revenue’s website includes information on this issue and the transition to JavaScript.

Cora O’Brien is director of technical services, Irish Tax Institute