Jack Quann
Jack Quann

18.03 15 Jan 2021


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A tax expert says just because people have not heard from Revenue over a tax bill resulting from coronavirus schemes does not mean they are not liable.

Norah Collender is professional tax leader with Chartered Accountants Ireland.

She was speaking as tens of thousands of households who received coronavirus supports are to begin receiving tax bills.

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However they do not have to pay the tax immediately, with Revenue aiming to collect it interest-free over a four-year period.

The payments will be taken via tax credits beginning in 2022.

The Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and Wage Subsidy schemes were not taxed in real-time, with the Government agreeing late last year to tax them retrospectively.

But according to figures released by Revenue, some 420,000 taxpayer units (single workers or jointly-assessed couples) who received pandemic payments will receive a tax bill.

Some 132,300 of these will receive bills totaling €1,000 or more.

Norah Collender told The Hard Shoulder people have options.

"Not all of those people will have actual tax liabilities - there are 290,000 of individuals who were on the TWSS and the PUP that actually will have tax refunds owed to them.

"But there are 419,000 of those workers on the PUP and the TWSS who will have tax liabilities that are now going to be falling due from 2022 spread over four years."

However she said just because people have not received a statement of liability from Revenue, does not mean they are not liable.

"They're called preliminary end of year statements, and they actually [are] issued to every PAYE worker in the country - regardless of whether you're on the TWSS or the PUP."

Refund or liability?

These are issued via Revenue's online portal, ROS.

"The portal is called 'My Account' - so you either have to log on to My Account or register for My Account to get access to it."

"As you can imagine... there's 2.3 million potential log-ons going on in that portal, so I think the system is a bit slow today".

But she said it is important for people to log on to My Account at some stage to download the preliminary end of year statement.

This will set out whether people are due a refund or have a tax liability.

Norah explained: "The first thing to do is to take a close look at it, scrutinise it and make sure you're happy with it."

"If you do have a liability, it will set out what the TWSS...figure that Revenue have on its records on your behalf.

"That information would have been taken from the information that was submitted by the employer.

"So the employee needs to check that first and foremost and make sure that tallies up with their understanding of what they were getting in their paycheck for the TWSS".

Tax credits

She also said people should consider any tax credits, such as medical expenses, they could use to offset the liability.

But she said that while medical expenses write-offs - such as prescriptions or consultants - are tax deductible at 20%, there is a catch.

"I just want to manage expectations: it would take €5,000 worth of medical expenses to clear a tax liability of €1,000".

But other credits could include the Single Person Childcare Credit or the Homecare Credit.

"It does involve some time to go through all these, but it would be worth a good scrutiny of what you're entitled to".

She added: "The next step then would be to submit a tax return, which is also part of the My Account system".

She said this is relatively easy to do: "The tax return… it's relatively intuitive".

"I'd recommend that while you're in there, while you're looking at your preliminary end of year statement, take a look at the facility there to submit the tax return.

"A lot of it will be pre-populated with your payroll data anyway".

Her final word on the process: "The best advice that anybody could take on this would be to engage in the process".

Revenue has said its technical teams are working to resolve issues with its website, which has been crashing throughout Friday.

It said it is aware of the issues with its online services, and that they have been unavailable for some people.

Main image: The Revenue Offices in the Upper Yard of Dublin Castle in 2012. Picture by Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

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Chartered Accountants Ireland. Employees Norah Collender PUP Pandemic Unemployment Payment Payroll Preliminary End Of Year Statement ROS Revenue TWSS Tax Credits Tax Expert Tax Liabilities

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