Revenue has revised the Code of Practice for Revenue Audit and other Compliance Interventions ('the Code') to take account of recent legislative changes and to reflect certain procedural changes. In particular the Code has been amended to take account of changes made in the Finance Act 2016.
Revenue is currently writing to self assessed taxpayers who have submitted an income tax return for 2015 providing them with a summary sheet detailing the main feature of 'the Code'. A copy of the letter and 'the Code' summary is available on the Revenue website.
The letter acknowledges that the vast majority of taxpayers get their returns correct but also highlights the benefits in correcting any errors on tax returns before Revenue identifies the issue. It also draws attention to the fact that the Finance Act 2016 restricts, from 1 May 2017, a taxpayer's ability to make a qualifying disclosure which relates directly or indirectly to an offshore matter in respect of which Irish tax is payable.
The Finance Act changes reflect the fact that Revenue has agreements with over 100 jurisdictions to automatically exchange bank and other financial account information with regard to Irish tax residents who hold financial and other assets in those jurisdictions. With effect from 1st May 2017, a person cannot make a qualifying disclosure if, for example, it relates directly or indirectly to:
- an account/asset held or situated in a country or territory other than the State
- income or gains arising from a source, or accruing, in a country or territory other than the State
- property situated in a country or territory other than the State.
Save in limited circumstances, a person will not be able to make a qualifying disclosure in respect of liabilities within the State if they have undisclosed offshore matters.
You may be contacted by existing or potential new clients on foot of the Revenue letter. In that context, and in respect of any client or prospective client with offshore related matters, it is important to bear in mind the 1 May 2017 deadline and its significance.