Revenue’s new Code of Practice for Revenue Audit and other Compliance Interventions

Revenue’s new Code of Practice for Revenue Audit and other Compliance Interventions (the new Code) came into effect from the 14th of August 2014. It significantly revises the previous 2010 Audit Code.

We have provided below a quick synopsis of the key changes which is consolidated under 5 broad headings and you can obtain more detailed information on the Irish tax office website

1. Focus of audits and compliance interventions

Paragraph 4.5 of the new Code notes that Revenue audits will generally focus on a year or period where a specific risk has been identified. Multi-year or period compliance interventions may be carried out where material risks, identified by a range of data sources, are identified for a number of years (or periods).

This approach also applies to non-audit interventions, as set out in paragraph 2.3 of the new Code.

The additional costs to a taxpayer of extending an audit has also been introduced as a factor that will be taken into account in deciding whether to open earlier or later years (paragraph 4.6).

2. The “no loss of revenue” provision

Paragraph 3.5 of the new Code recognises that there may be exceptional circumstances where “no loss of revenue” claims may be considered in relation to taxes other than VAT and RCT. The paragraph also contains information on how to make a claim.

3. Timeframe for concluding Revenue interventions and receiving refunds

Delays can arise in the conclusion of an audit or intervention, even though a taxpayer has answered all queries promptly. Paragraph 5.8 of the new Code notes that if there is no clear cause for the delay in finalising the audit/intervention a taxpayer’s entitlements to credits or tax refunds shall not be delayed or withheld.

4. Protocols for e-Audits

Paragraphs 1.9 and 1.9.1 include detailed information on what taxpayers can expect when undergoing an e-Audit and at the pre-audit meeting.

5. The interaction of the “late” surcharge with tax-geared penalties

Revenue has clarified in paragraph 5.4.1 that the Section 1084 “late” surcharge that can be sought for the timely filing of an incorrect return will not be sought where a tax-geared penalty applies in a settlement.

If you have any queries regarding the above, CAG Chartered Accountants would be happy to discuss this article relevant to your situation.