Leading accountancy body issues on-line tax warning

  • Some online tax refund companies are charging a percentage of peoples’ tax refund as fees when making returns on their behalf
  • Anybody can tick a box on a form and claim a tax credit, but if the tax payer is not entitled to the credit they will have to refund the amount they erroneously claimed plus Revenue interest and penalties;
  • Some online refund companies are not disclosing who the owners of their organisation are with the public unaware of their credentials and therefore having restricted redress, no independent oversight and no come back should such service providers make mistakes or fraudulent claims
  • In addition, customers PAYE details are open to being harvested and could be used for identity theft,

ACCA is warning employees across Ireland about the risk posed by some online tax refund service providers that are seeking to manage people’s PAYE claims.

The professional accountancy body has said that such service providers also pose a risk to the harvesting of personal data and that their percentage fee structure could act as an incentive for these companies to illegally overstate refund claims for customers when submitting returns on their behalf to Revenue. These customers have no clear route to a right of redress should they find themselves out of pocket.

ACCA professionals throughout Ireland have found an increase in this type of service which is specifically seeking to target people at the same time as the Government introduces its new information technology systems to record wages online, from January 2019. 

The Government’s new system requires that employees keep their on-line records up to date and it has a very simple process for reclaiming tax credits and refunds. Some unqualified online service providers seek tax payers to provide exactly the same information as will be required by the Government’s new system and accordingly simply transcribes the information across.

Commenting Stephen O’Flaherty, Chairman, ACCA Ireland, said, “Providing bank account details, date of birth and Personal Public Service (PPS) Number to an unqualified online tax service, leaves employees at risk of identity theft with no come back on the service or the quantity of tax refund or credit received.   

“We would strongly advise people never to accept a percentage of a refund payment arrangement or to agree to any submission whereby the details are erroneous.  Undertaking appropriate due diligence on the qualifications held by the service providers and ensuring they are regulated is simply good risk management and is recommended.  The Government’s refund system is uncomplicated, and we would strongly urge people to either complete the process themselves or seek help from a trusted and known source such as a qualified accountant.”

People can complete the online process by:

  • Going to www.revenue.ie and log into “My account” – a password will be posted to the tax payer.  While not ideal a B&B or hotel postal address can be used to receive the password for people new to the country.
  • Once logged in with the password – there are 6 simple steps to reclaim overpaid tax and a Revenue phone helpline if you get stuck. 
  • If you want to engage somebody to file your PAYE tax return, look for somebody who is qualified and regulated.

- ends -

For media enquiries, contact:

Monique McKenzie

E: Monique.McKenzie@accaglobal.com

Tel: 020 7059 5030
Mobile: 07725613447

Twitter: @ACCANews

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.

ACCA supports its 208,000 members and 503,000 students in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 104 offices and centres and more than 7,300 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.

ACCA is currently introducing major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.

Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. More information is here: www.accaglobal.com

"Providing bank account details, date of birth and Personal Public Service (PPS) Number to an unqualified online tax service, leaves employees at risk of identity theft with no come back on the service or the quantity of tax refund or credit received."

Stephen O’Flaherty - Chairman, ACCA Ireland