BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Have you claimed your Flat Rate Expense (FRE) for last year yet? No? Unfortunately, you’re not alone as every year thousands of people leave unclaimed FREs and other tax reliefs and refunds with the taxman. More than 50% of employees surveyed by Taxback.com do not know their tax entitlements or benefits.
Taxback.com, a multi-national corporation which provides specialist tax return services to private and corporate clients across 100 countries, say the impact of the pandemic and subsequent return to work has changed norms within the workplace. This has resulted in a new focus on wellbeing among the workforce and business leaders.
Their panel of experts aim to help businesses incorporate different initiatives into their company wellbeing programmes with the financial wellbeing of their employees having an important role. And what better way than to educate employees as to their tax entitlements and the possibility of a cheque from the taxman!
According to the report almost eight in 10 people are unaware of the FRE relief; a relief that exist to help tens of thousands of workers offset costs of uniforms and equipment required during the course of their work.
Up to 17% of people said they’ve only ever claimed tax refunds once in their life, 11% said they only do it “very sporadically” with one in five having either not set up a Revenue online account and/or have never heard of the facility.
It seems people are slow to act when it comes to claiming refunds and reliefs that are due to them. There may lurk the idea that if they interact with Revenue they will complicate their lives. Not so, according to Barry Cahill of Tax Back: “This is a misnomer we very much want to quash as, for the vast majority of people, we find that there is money owed to, not by, the taxpayer.”
But he said: “It’s surprising, and somewhat alarming, to find that almost half of us are still not claiming back our tax refund at the end of the year. This figure should be much, much higher. However, the data speaks for itself – it’s clear that people remain uncertain, reticent, and/or unwilling to approach the topic of their taxes.”
When employees are made aware of their entitlements, engage with the process, are equipped with the knowledge and know-how to enable them to put their personal tax affairs in order, the results have been very satisfactory to say the least, with the average refund amount received to date amounting to €1,250, with the highest individual refund being €7,400.
“A lot of money to be leaving in the hands of the taxman,”, says Barry Cahill. “Furthermore, the longer you leave it the less likely you are to apply at all, and you also run the risk of going past the four-year deadline.”
So, why not look into this and see if you have any entitlements available to you. Call Taxback or use your accountant/advisor. If you want to fly solo you will first need to make a tax return.
The easiest way is to set up an account, if you don’t have one already, through the Revenue website https://www.ros.ie/myaccount. ‘My Account’ is a single online access point for Revenue services.
Then access the Employment Detail Summary for 2021 in ‘MyAccount’. It is accessible through the ‘Review your tax’ link in PAYE Services. This summary contains your pay and statutory deductions for the year as reported by your employer or pension provider.
You need to make an Income Tax return putting in the claims you wish to make. Then request a Statement of Liability. It must be made within four years after the end of the tax year to which the claim relates so you may currently request a Statement of Liability for the years 2018 to 2021.
Revenue will then crunch the numbers and if you are entitled to a tax rebate it will be transferred to your bank account directly or sent to you by cheque.