By way of general information, Part 38 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides that returns of income shall be in the ‘form prescribed by Revenue’. Therefore, any question of simplifying tax return obligations for any group of taxpayers is a matter for Revenue.
In this regard, I am assured by Revenue that it supports the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector by making it as simple and as inexpensive as possible for sole traders, partnerships and businesses to comply with their tax obligations. To achieve this ambition, Revenue has taken various initiatives over the last number of years to assist taxpayers in filing their income tax returns. For example, recent initiatives include:
- prepopulating income tax returns with data already available through other sources to minimise the complexity of the return filing requirement and,
- providing simplified and clear information, including instructional videos on the Revenue website, to support and assist taxpayers in completing the various components of the income tax return.
Where a self-employed taxpayer has PAYE income and their self-employed income is less than €30,000 gross and €5,000 net, that self-employed income can be ‘coded’ or taken into account in calculating their annual PAYE tax credits and standard rate band. Those taxpayers can submit a shorter Form 12 tax return; online through PAYE Services in myAccount.
Also, Revenue continuously consults with business representatives through various forums to identify further initiatives that can achieve tax filing compliance in the least obtrusive way possible. For example, Revenue has established Business Customer Panels to get feedback on its services from taxpayers and to receive suggestions for potential further improvement.
Finally, while it is never possible to fully eliminate the requirements of meeting tax obligations, I am advised that Ireland compares very favourably with other countries in easing the administrative burden to the greatest extent possible. In this regard, the Deputy will be interested to note that Ireland is ranked in the ‘PWC/World Bank - Paying Taxes 2018’ report as the easiest country in the EU in which to pay business taxes and 4th easiest worldwide. I commend Revenue for this achievement, which is testament to its ongoing efforts to make the tax system as easy as possible for citizens to comply with.