Disruption of businesses and smooth functioning of the community is probably the single largest impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, after the lives lost. The Irish government, however, was quick to implement measures to mitigate large losses for the country’s businesses and thus, the economy. They continue to keep introducing measures based on the progress of the situation. Revenue have also been keen to acknowledge the inevitable tax payment difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and have released a statement advising tax payers to try their best to fulfil their tax liabilities.
In this blog, we summarize some of the steps and measures taken by the Irish government to help with the aspect of Tax compliance and filing for returns this year.
For the purpose of tax, Revenue considers any business with a turnover of less than €3 million, that does not come under the dealing of Revenue’s Large Corporates Division or Medium Enterprises Division. Revenue’s Business Division is the one that looks after SMEs from both a service and compliance standpoint.
- Revenue released some key guidelines on 13th March 2020, regarding actions being implemented to help SME businesses that are experiencing cash flow issues due to COVID-19.
- The following measures were announced for SMEs:
- Suspension of interest on late tax payments for January/February 2020 and March/April 2020 VAT periods and for the February 2020, March 2020 and April 2020 PAYE (employers) periods;
- Although immediate payment is not possible, companies that are undergoing cash flow problems should continue timely filing of tax returns
- Suspension of the RCT rate review that was scheduled to take place in March 2020;
- Until notified further, all Revenue debt enforcement activity stands suspended
- However, current tax clearance status continues to remain in place for all businesses over the coming months.
For businesses that do not come under the SME category can contact the Collector-General’s office on +353 1 7383663 or get in touch with their branch contacts in Large Corporates Division or Medium Enterprises Division.
MyEnquiries service or telephone will be used to carry out verification processes for businesses that warrant it when tax repayments and refunds are being processed. Revenue has said that it is likely to prioritise the approval and processing of tax repayments and refunds (primarily VAT repayments, PSWT refunds and excess R&D tax credits) to taxpayers.
Another guideline issued was that until further notice, Revenue will be suspending tax audit and other compliance intervention activity on taxpayers’ premises.
Filing Tax Returns
Revenue has insisted that persons and companies should take all required steps to continue to file their returns even if the payment of liabilities is not immediately possible. If key personnel in-charge of tax computations are not available due to COVID-19, a “best-estimate” return can be submitted temporarily. If any amendments are to be made later, they can be done through a “self-correction”.
The surcharge for Corporation Tax, due to late filing of returns, for accounting periods ending June 2019 onwards (i.e. due by 23 March 2020 onwards, has also been suspended.
Phased Payment Schedule
Revenue has also introduced a scheme whereby businesses can leverage flexibility to manage a fixed schedule in tax payment on their own, depending on cash flow projections and needs. Businesses can apply for a Phased Payment Arrangement online through MyEnquiries/My Account or by using Revenue’s Online Phased Payment Facility which is accessible through ROS. This online facility is available 24/7.
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