The government must consult widely before introducing any changes in next week’s budget to the pay and file income tax deadline, according to the Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath TD.
Deputy McGrath commented: “The current deadline for filing an income tax return and paying the liability is 31 October. The deadline is generally extended by about 2 weeks (this year to 14 November), for those who pay and file on the Revenue Online Service (ROS). Generally, only self-employed people and employees who have other, non-employment, sources of income are required to file an income tax return.
“Given that, starting this year, Budgets are now being introduced in mid-October, it seems inevitable that some changes will be announced to the pay and file deadline. It is understandable that the Department of Finance will want to have as much information about tax returns at its disposal before finalising the Budget for the following year.
“Any change to the pay and file date will have significant administrative and cash flow consequences for over 600,000 income tax payers and will pose major challenges for the professionals who complete and file tax returns on their behalf. I understand the Department of Finance has been in contact with Revenue about possible changes but the Minister for Finance needs to ensure that taxpayers, business groups, tax advisers and accountants are consulted on any proposed changes.
“The issue of cash flow is not one the Minister should underestimate. For example, farmers do not receive the first 50% of their Single Farm Payment each year until mid-October so an earlier deadline for the payment of tax would pose huge cash flow difficulties for them.
“One option the Minister could consider is to bring forward the filing date but to leave the last date for payment of any tax due as it is. I am calling on the Minister not to announce any final decision on Budget day but instead to commence a process of meaningful consultation with all those who would be affected by any change.”