Revenue will not extend tax filing deadlines for Covid-hit firms

By Jon Ihle

Revenue has rejected a request from the main accountancy bodies to arrange tax filing extensions for firms struggling to meet deadlines because of the impact of Covid-19.

Tax officials have told the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies-Ireland (CCAB-I) that accountants facing difficulties with deadlines this year should file tax returns for their clients on a best estimates basis and correct them later.

The refusal comes as firms prepare for the upcoming corporation tax deadline of September 23 and the income tax deadline of October 31 while managing extra paperwork for Covid supports.

Businesses that don’t file on time risk fines and loss of access to vital Covid support funds and tax holidays.

The CCAB-I wrote to the Revenue Collector-General last week outlining the disruption smaller accountancy firms have been experiencing due to Covid-19, including staffing problems and other disruptions to normal work.

The group asked for Revenue to take a “pragmatic” firm-by-firm approach on extensions for the small number of firms it anticipated would need more time to file.

“[T]hose that do need an extension are under severe pressure and stress,” the letter stated.

“They need time to file tax returns and they need a defined approach on how to reach an extension arrangement with Revenue.”

However, at a meeting on Tuesday of the Tax Administration Liaison Committee, which includes the Revenue and the CCAB-I, Revenue said there would be no formal arrangement for agreeing extensions, no additional tax deadlines would be introduced between now and the end of the year.

“Revenue understands and appreciates the unprecedented situation facing taxpayers and businesses as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” a spokesperson told the Irish Irish Independent in a statement.

“The instance of such difficulties is expected to be very low and any subsequent amendments can be completed on a self-correction basis without incurring additional penalties.”

Jeffrey Case, a self-employed accountant in Athlone who has been spearheading an effort among small practices to push back tax deadlines this year, said it “was unreal how revenue seem to disregard completely our plight”.

“Accountants have been working hard to assist the Government to roll out supports to businesses affected by Covid-19”, he said.

“Now that the Government sees an end sight, right at the most critical time for accountants in practice, we have been left high and dry to paddle our own canoe.”

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