Self-employed warned not to leave tax returns to the last minute

Self-employed taxpayers and wage earners who have untaxed income have been warned not to leave it to the last minute to file their tax returns.

This is because Revenue’s online system tends to clog up on the last day. Online returns are due on Thursday.

Revenue is to keep technical support and payment support services manned until midnight on deadline day for those filing, it has emerged.

Close to 600,000 self-employed people and workers in the pay as you earn (PAYE) system who have income outside their main earnings are due to make tax returns.

The closing date for paper-based filing of tax was 10 days ago.

Cathal Maxwell of said that many of those due to file a return a make a payment by Thursday will do so on the day.

“Over half a million people have to send in a self-assessment tax return and every year nearly all of them leave it till the last minute,” the tax practitioner said.

He warned that the pressure on the IT systems of the Revenue Commissioners from so many people trying to upload and fill in forms online means that the system slows down.

This could mean people missing the deadline for filing a return.

And Mr Maxwell said that PAYE earners who have rental income or who have benefited from share options are now getting closer scrutiny from the Revenue.

“They may be liable to file tax returns under the self-assessment system which for 2013 tax returns needs to be done by Thursday.”

A spokeswoman for Revenue said the ROS (Revenue Online Service) technical helpdesk and the ROS payment support unit are both available to support customers experiencing difficulties using ROS.

These services are staying open until 8pm most nights this week, while the support desks will be manned until midnight on Thursday.

She added: “On the last day to pay and file on time last year, over 57,000 were filed through ROS with no reported interruption of service.”

In the past, Revenue’s IT systems have been unable to cope with a deluge of users filing and paying tax on the last day of the deadline.

But in the past few years Revenue has increased its systems capacity.

It emerged recently that thousands of self-employed people and PAYE workers with extra income have been forced to agree a payment plan with Revenue to pay their taxes in stages.

Some 16,000 taxpayers and businesses have agreed phased payments with Revenue.

This covers €124m in tax debt, a spokeswoman for the Revenue Commissioners confirmed.

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