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Irish Revenue Proposes Mandatory E-Filing

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

18 September 2007


The Irish Revenue Commission is to commence a consultation with tax practitioners, industry representative bodies, software providers and taxpayers over a proposal to introduce mandatory e-filing for certain categories of taxpayer.

The Commission revealed on Monday that its Revenue Online Service (ROS) has already achieved significant electronic return filing and payment rates to date; some 2.6 million returns or forms were filed via ROS in 2006, and EUR16.6 billion in payments made. However, a considerable number of fully computerised businesses still remain outside the ROS system. The aim is to bring these businesses within ROS, on a phased basis, commencing with certain returns and payments due from larger companies in 2009.

Commenting on the initiative, Frank Daly, Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners, stated that: "There has been continuous and steady growth in the number of returns being filed online through ROS since its introduction in 2000 and there are clear benefits from using ROS in terms of efficiency and reduced compliance costs for taxpayers. The time has now come to proceed on a phased basis to mandatory electronic filing and payment of tax for all substantial businesses."

He went on to suggest that: "The consultation process will aim to achieve as much consensus as possible on the scope of mandatory electronic filing and payment as regards who will be affected, what returns will be included and the timescale over which it will be implemented. It will allow legitimate concerns to be raised and give those likely to be affected every opportunity to put their views directly to us."

The Revenue Chairman added that: "Revenue accepts that there will always be small businesses where mandatory electronic filing and payment would be inappropriate and Revenue intends to devise a much simplified paper return for these businesses so as to make their tax compliance easier."

Legislation providing for mandatory electronic filing and payment was passed by the Oireachtas in the 2003 Finance Act, subject to a Commencement Order to be made by the Minister for Finance. Once the consultation process announced this week has been completed and the necessary Commencement Order has been made by the Minister, Revenue will then make public regulations governing the implementation of mandatory electronic filing and payment.


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