Revenue before the Public Accounts Committee

Dec 02, 2019

The focus of the statements before the Public Accounts Committee last week was on tax receipts collected by Revenue for 2018, Revenue Vote, tax compliance interventions and tax relief on film production.   Perhaps of most interest to members are the matters raised by Deputy Peter Burke, Chartered Accountant. Deputy Burke questioned the Revenue Chairman on the flat rate expense review and the published policy that such expenses would be amended or withdrawn from 1 January 2020.  According to the Revenue Chairman the review is still ongoing and until such time that the review has been completed there will be no changes implemented.  Deputy Burke also raised the matters of the ROS technical issues on the income tax pay and file deadline, MyEnquiries, PAYE Modernisation and the OECD digital tax proposals.

Flat rate expenses

In response to Deputy Burke’s question on the flat rate expense review and the expected changes from 1 January, the Revenue Chairman said

“We are carrying out a comprehensive review of the range of flat rate expenses in order to ensure that they are in accordance with legislation and changes in employment practices. This time last year, we had planned to amend flat rate expenses as we carried out our reviews across particular categories. In the context of last year’s budget and Finance Bill discussions, though, we recognised that there were concerns. We are proposing a postponement of the implementation of the review for any sector until we have completed the review of all sectors.”

When asked about the change from 1 January 2020, the Revenue Chairman responded that

“We are in correspondence with the Minister, so I must wait to see what his reply will be. I will consider his reply and we will publish the correspondence. We will be clear about what we will be doing before tax credit certificates issue in early December.”

Chartered Accountants Ireland is aware from discussions at the recent TALC Collection subcommittee that the tax credit certificates for 2020 are due to issue next Monday, 9 December.

Revenue also commented that “there are a small number of categories that we have not finalised our correspondence on yet. Last year, we stated that we would not implement for anyone until we were in a position to do so for everyone.”

A reply from the Minister to Revenue is expected sometime this week.

Dr Brian Keegan, Director Public Policy and Tax, wrote on the flat rate expenses, tax credit certificates and related matters in his Irish Examiner article Pointers to getting the most from tax reliefs.

MyEnquiries

Deputy Burke highlighted the frustration experienced by many Chartered Accountants when using the Revenue’s MyEnquiries service noting that “MyEnquiries is a global issue”.   The Revenue Chairman in response noted that “generally the system works”.  At the meeting of the TALC MyEnquiries subgroup last week Chartered Accountants Ireland submitted several examples of delays experienced by members using the service and discussed with Revenue options for improvements.  The Revenue Chairman noted the work of the subgroup and the concerns raised, also remarking “the agent representatives’ bodies are not slow to point out matters to us and we work with them to fix that.”

ROS

The Revenue Chairman highlighted the technical issues experienced on Tuesday 12 November and Wednesday 13 November and the Revenue’s response while also noting that “although we cannot ever say for definite that we will not have problems in future, we will not have these problems in future.”

PAYE Modernisation

An overview of the real time payroll system in operation over 11 months now was provided by the Revenue Chairman. A report is due to be published next April detailing the learnings under the system.

OECD corporation tax proposals

Deputy Burke questioned the work ongoing in the area of taxing the digital economy and the OECD proposals.  The Revenue Chairman noted that two proposals split into Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 are at varying degrees of developments. 

Chartered Accountants Ireland via the auspices of CCAB-I responded to the OECD Pilar 1 consultation and will be submitting its response to the Pillar 2 consultation later today. 

The full transcript of the Public Accounts Committee hearing on Thursday 28 November, is available to read here.