Accountancy Ireland

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  • How do Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) help investigations?
    on January 22, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    The latest publication from the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) titled the ‘SARs Reporter Booklet’ contains a sanitised summary of feedback from law enforcement agencies (LEAs) on their use of SARs and includes pertinent information and updates from the UKFIU. The UKFIU sits within the National Crime Agency (NCA) and receives over 470,000 SARs a year. This Booklet highlights the work of LEAs in utilising SAR intelligence to initiate investigations and informing existing ones.More information about the UKFIU, the SARs regime and further guidance notes can be found at the NCA website with helpful Guidance Notes reproduced below. Submitting A Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) within the Regulated Sector – Guidance Note Introduction to Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) – Guidance Not

  • UK AML Legislation – The 5th Anti Money Laundering Directive – New Requirements for accountancy firms
    on January 22, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    In the Professional Standards Regulatory Bulletin (December 2019) we informed you that the 5th Anti Money Laundering Directive had been transposed into UK legislation by The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Amendment) Regulations 2019 effective from 10 January 2020.  (We still await implementation of the draft legislation for Ireland.) Full Article: The 5th Anti Money Laundering Directiv

  • Excuses, Excuses, Excuses – January 2020
    on January 20, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    The 2018/19 self-assessment deadline is just 11 days away on 31 January 2020. With the deadline looming, HMRC has published a list of the most bizzare excuses and expense claims from the last ten years.  Pets, witches, djs and yachts all feature in the news release. But the underlying message is serious – file on time and don’t make spurious claims for non-qualifying expenses. HMRC have also published an update for agents who may be preparing self-assessment returns which are covered by one of the online filing exclusions for 2018/19. “Below is some information to help you support your customers should they be impacted by an Exclusion and contact you for advice. There are no changes to the advice we provided for 2017-18, however we are sorry that we are late in sharing this with you. All Self Assessment customers need to file their 2018-19 return, make a balancing payment for 2018-19 and their first payment on account for 2019-20 by 31 January 2020 (if appropriate).                                 We are aware, however, that if a customer is affected by an exclusion they won’t be able to file online or get an accurate self-assessment income tax liability calculation for 2018-19. In this instance customers should: file their Self Assessment by paper return, along with a completed reasonable excuse claim by 31 January 2020. make a reasonable effort to estimate their income tax liability for 2018-19 based on the information they have. make an appropriate balancing payment for 2018-19 and their first payment on account for 2019-20 by 31 January 2020. Providing the return and payments are received by the deadline of 31 January 2020 HMRC will not charge a late filing penalty, late payment penalty and /or interest on the estimated amounts. Where we have been unable to stop the automatic issue of these we will accept being affected by an Exclusion as a reasonable excuse and the penalties will be withdrawn.   We will contact those customers who have needed to estimate their balancing payment to confirm their actual income tax liability. If this results in an additional amount being payable customers should pay any new amount due within 28 days of the notification to stop interest being added. As yet, we do not have a date for when this contact will be made. Where a customer is uncertain if their circumstances match an exclusion and their software allows successful online submission, they should: file their Self Assessment return online by 31 January 2020   pay their estimated balance for 2018-19 Self Assessment and their first payment for 2019-20 by 31st January 2020  HMRC will subsequently: identify any cases filed online where the calculation is incorrect make any required correction to the income tax liability calculation for 2018-19 and 2019-20 payment on account inform the customer of the correct income tax liability calculation for 2018-19 and any revision to 2019-20 payment on account advise when the revised amounts need to be paid inform customers that they will not have to pay late payment penalties and/or interest attributable to any additional amount arising from the correction if it is paid before the revised due date. For further information please ask your customers to speak to their tax adviser, or use our SA110 notes and SA150 How to fill in your tax return. Customers can also contact HMRC if they receive any penalties or accrue interest in this case.&rdquo

  • A good minister or a great minister?
    on January 20, 2020 at 11:51 am

    Business Post 19 January 2020 One of the easiest portfolios for a new minister to pick up in the next couple of weeks could be Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform. Compare it to the lot of the next housing minister or the next health minister, who are bound to pick up their portfolios with some trepidation.  True, we have an enormous national debt, but then international interest rates are at historic lows.  We no longer run a budget deficit and the main tax problem in the economy is that we collect too much tax from companies.  Unless the new finance minister goes on a spending splurge, there will be a budget surplus in 2020.  Paschal Donohoe mastered two of the key requirements for the job of finance minister.  He was clever and he was lucky.  His period of tenure as a minister in the 32nd Dáil coincided with the global economic recovery gaining momentum.  In a small open economy such as ours, economic factors will always trump anything an individual finance minister does or doesn’t do.  Our unemployment levels are at a record low mainly because of external factors and only partly because the minister did nothing to hamper employment growth. Nor can any finance minister in any small country dictate the international consensus on cross-border taxation.  Ireland has benefited spectacularly from an unforeseen consequence of the changing international approach to corporation tax.  The so-called BEPS consensus led by the OECD drove income generating assets out of tax havens and into genuine low rate (rather than low tax) jurisdictions.  I’m not aware that anyone predicted the extent of this effect on the Irish economy.  When the New York Times Columnist Paul Krugman sneeringly described the consequent boost to Irish GDP as “leprechaun economics”, he failed to realise that the leprechaun’s pot of gold is actually real and is located on these shores with little apparent sign of it moving anytime soon.  Was this just luck? Donohoe and his officials detected very early on what way the international tax policy wind was blowing.  Although the government was criticised for what seemed to some to be a tardy approach, both Donohoe and his predecessor Michael Noonan eliminated some of the more egregious cross border tax planning schemes.  Less prominent but perhaps as important was Ireland’s role in building a coalition of the cute within the EU.  Simon Coveney and Donohoe orchestrated the responses of the dozen or so smaller nations which became known as the New Hanseatic league.  These countries are linked by a shared alarm over some of the EU tax proposals driven by the larger economies.  Between them they managed to make life a bit more difficult for the EU Commission and sucked the life out of EU proposals for digital taxation. This decisiveness was not always matched by measures on the domestic front.  At times it seemed that the finance minister was paralysed by the fear of doing the wrong thing.  His tenure marked a new way of defining “risk averse”.  Business concerns largely went unheard, and there was little or nothing in the way of new business tax incentives.  The “keep on saying nothing” approach taken by government in the face of Brexit uncertainty meant that many businesses simply could not plan coherently.   The Budget for 2020 was prepared on a worst possible case scenario.  Issues raised at the annual National Economic Dialogue, ostensibly an occasion for civil society to present its ideas to government, went unnoticed. The minister will point towards the economic growth which transpired anyway as justification for this laissez faire approach.   That doesn’t answer whether more could have been achieved, nor does it excuse ignoring the tax system as a lever of policy.  How was it justifiable not to use the tax system to encourage housing development and rental supply to help provide accommodation at a time of crisis?  After all, we know that housing tax incentives are effective.  We even know what mistakes to avoid with them. There were other problems too.  The focus remained on the multinational sector, with little tax support for indigenous industry.  The approach to carbon taxes was hesitant.  Local property tax is no longer fit for purpose.  The valuations are out of date and too many properties are exempt; at this stage LPT is borderline unconstitutional.  Inheritance tax is now largely a tax on Dublin households as the exemption thresholds have not reflected property price growth.  The 40% rate of income tax still applies at low income levels. On balance, I think the history books will be kind to Paschal Donohoe.  It is in the nature of the economic cycle that the term of the next government is likely to span some economic slowdown, if not an actual downturn.  Nevertheless, whoever takes the portfolio next time will be taking it at a good time to become the finance minister.  He or she will have both the economic headroom, and plenty of untapped opportunities, to make a difference.   Dr Brian Keegan is Director of Public Policy at Chartered Accountants Ireland&nbs

  • Guidelines for Phased Payment Arrangements
    on January 20, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Revenue’s Debt Management System (DMS) was introduced in March 2019.  Under this system all applications for Phased Payment Arrangements are submitted to Revenue via Revenue Online Service (ROS).  Revenue’s guidelines for Phased Payment Arrangements are updated to reflect the changes introduced under the DMS.  The guidelines may be helpful to understand Revenue’s approach to the collection of taxes and to Phased Payment Arrangements.&nbs