Accessing Revenue’s pragmatic approach to late filing surcharge, 7 December

Dec 07, 2020

Chartered Accountants Ireland made representations with Revenue and Government highlighting the difficulties facing businesses in meeting tax deadlines due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.  The Chairman of the Revenue Board, Mr Niall Cody, wrote to us stating that Revenue would take a pragmatic approach to late filing surcharges where the  taxpayer or tax agent is unable to make the 10 December deadline due to COVID-19 related restrictions. This approach was also restated by Minister Donohoe in the Dáil on 3 November.  We now set out what we understand is the process for engaging with Revenue.

As we face into the final days before the deadline, members have asked for clarification on the process of notifying Revenue for the purposes of agreeing the non-application of surcharges under the suggested pragmatic approach.  We understand that the process is as follows:

  • Revenue should be notified in advance of the 10 December income tax deadline.
  • The notification should set out the list of clients and their PPSNs and this should be submitted via MyEnquiries. We are aware that there is no general MyEnquiries email so a particular client’s MyEnquiries email could be used to submit the notification.
  • The notification should set out the exceptional circumstances why the accountant is unable to make the deadline and provide a timeline when he or she expects to file the tax returns.
  • Revenue will reply to the notification and accept the request for the non-application of late filing surcharges or decline the request.
  • Surcharges will not be suspended where the tax agent/taxpayer has a record of filing tax returns late.

Revenue’s systems will automatically apply the surcharge and a caseworker in Revenue will lift the surcharge subsequently where the arrangement is agreed with Revenue.  Initial output from Revenue’s systems may indicate that the tax return is late and that a surcharge will apply, and this will then be reversed on foot of a manual update by a Revenue caseworker. 

It may be a good idea for accountants to explain the arrangement with clients in advance to avoid misunderstandings.