PAYE tax services to go online this year

13 Mar 2006

The Revenue Commissioner’s Revenue Online Service (ROS) is set to deploy its first range of PAYE services later this year, enabling Ireland’s 2.2 million PAYE workers to check their records and amend tax credits over the internet, among other things.

PAYE workers will be able to register for the service through the Government’s Reach eCitizen initiative in the second half of this year, has learned. To register, citizens will need their PPS number and will be issued with a PAYE PIN.

Speaking at an IDC eGovernment conference in Dublin last week, Sean Cosgrave, strategy manager at ROS, said that 65pc of all taxes filed in Ireland last year were filed online through the ROS system amounting to €12.1bn.

He said that the taxes filed online represented some 35pc of all employers’ payroll and 22pc of VAT.

“At present the ROS system is capable of handling some 20 main taxes, including payroll, self assessment and VAT. We even collect the plastic bag tax online now,” Cosgrave said.

Interestingly, despite the fact that ROS can receive electronic payments either through online banking or via laser card, Cosgrave said that despite the increasing proportion of businesses filing taxes online the majority have been reluctant to make their payments electronically.

“People still seem to be reluctant to give their name and bank account at the same time for some reason,” he said. “We were targeting some 75pc of all taxes from businesses to be paid electronically but so far only 28pc have done so. The total amount of taxation paid electronically last year was €1.5bn.

Cosgrave said that in the first year of ROS’s existence the Revenue Commissioners targeted some €50m worth of taxes to be filed online. “We achieved that target in the first six weeks.

“Our target for 2005 was to have 50pc of all taxes from the business community filed electronically — we hit 65pc.”

Cosgrave revealed that the ROS system cost the Government €30m to build in collaboration with Accenture. Funding for the project came from the Information Society Commission.

He added that in terms of efficiencies accrued so far, the system saved the Revenue Commissioners around €10m last year. As an example, he said: “Originally, on average 23pc of all tax returns need to be amended. As a result of people filing online only 7pc of returns on average are amended. We’re continuing to drive this down.”

Focusing on the advent of the PAYE workers being able to access their records online, Cosgrave said that workers who wish to access ROS will be able to register for authentication through Reach’s Public Services Broker (PSB) system in the second half of this year and will be given a PAYE PIN. “They can use it to change personal details, look for a tax review and we can make repayments directly to their bank account.”

Cosgrave concluded by saying that going forward ROS aims to use the system to join up the various Government departments in terms of a unified view of grant payments. ROS also plans to play a part in creating an EU-wide customs system.

By John Kennedy