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Irish Revenue Reduces Regulatory Burden

by Jason Gorringe,, London

30 July 2012

The Irish Revenue has slashed the administrative burden on businesses by 25% through a number of initiatives estimated to have saved companies over EUR85m (USD104m) a year.

The figure was revealed in a report published by the tax authority. The Revenue identified 62 of the most burdensome information obligations, and, to establish the time and cost associated with these obligations held interviews with 51 businesses and agents.

Its research found that five main initiatives led to the 25% burden reduction. They were as follows:

  • Reduced filing frequencies for value-added tax (VAT), employers' pay as you earn (PAYE)/pay-related social insurance (PRSI) and relevant contracts tax;
  • An increase in the VAT registration threshold;
  • Pre-population of income tax and corporation tax forms;
  • The Revenue's new electronic relevant contracts tax system; and
  • Ongoing expansion and improvement to the range of electronic services on the Revenue-Online Service (ROS).

The report also points to a number of other changes made by the Revenue in conjunction with various government agencies as instrumental in delivering savings to businesses. These include an improvement in the quality and timeliness of trade data collected by the Revenue on behalf of the Central Statistics Office. This, the Revenue says, has reduced the duplication in data submission from businesses.

The Revenue has also provided an electronic identity authentication service via the ROS digital signature to the Companies Registration Office (CRO). This allows the CRO to widen its base of entities that can sign and submit documentation electronically. The Revenue says this enables the real-time registration of changes in company details without the administrative burden of physically posting paper documentation.

Lastly, the report points to the Revenue's recognition of the fact that the compliance burden on businesses can be exacerbated by complex legislation and regulation. With this in mind, the Revenue has undertaken an extensive programme to systematically consolidate and streamline older tax and customs legislation. This includes stamp duty, capital acquisitions tax and VAT legislation.

Commenting on the report, Revenue Chairman Josephine Feehily said: "It is very important for the economy generally, and for inward investment in particular, to have tax and customs systems that are easy to comply with, responsive to the needs of taxpayers and other stakeholders, and that encourage and actively promote voluntary compliance."

"Our strategies include consulting with stakeholders, designing out complexity and providing good quality services to make it as easy as possible to comply. Our approach is based on the smart use of technology-based solutions including self-service options. A measure of our success is that for the fifth year running, Ireland continues to be ranked the easiest country in the EU in which to pay business taxes, and fifth easiest in the world according to an annual index by the World Bank and PwC," Feehily concluded.

TAGS: compliance | tax | business | value added tax (VAT) | tax compliance | Ireland | corporation tax | payroll | tax authority | legislation | stamp duty

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