Plans by Irish finance minister Charles McCreevy to advance by two months the deadline for filing returns under the self-assessment system have upset both Irish business and the profession.
The Irish ICA warned the change could ‘result in chaos in the administration of the tax system and have the effect of delaying the collection of tax’.
In a survey of members it found 87% were opposed to changing the current practice.
But the UK Inland Revenue, still dealing with the aftermath of the 31 January self-assessment deadline, said it had no plans to revert to an end-of-October filing date.
Under existing Irish self-assessment rules, the self-employed must pay preliminary tax for the tax year 1999/2000 by 1 November 1999. They must file returns for the 1998/1999 tax year by 31 January 2000.
Under the planned changes, the prelims payment deadline moves to 30 November.
But the annual income tax returns for 1998/1999 would have to be filed by 30 November 1999, instead of 31 January 2000.
McCreevy claimed harmonisation of the deadlines by which tax is paid and tax returns are filed would simplify and streamline ‘an over-complicated system’.
Tom Griffin, the Irish ICA president, said the change would cut the time available to complete accounts and prepare returns by 40%.
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