1,200 pensioners contacted over tax

Sat, Jun 16, 2012, 01:00

THE REVENUE Commissioners has written to 1,200 pensioners informing them that they may be liable for backdated tax.

The tax relates to pensioners who either did not declare their State pension or who under-declared their income.

Revenue says it is examining 2,500 cases where there is a mismatch between its records and Department of Social Protection records and where those pensioners have annual incomes in excess of €50,000.

A number of those already contacted are being asked to self-review their tax liability within 30 days. If tax is due and paid within a further 30 days, interest and penalties will not apply.

In about 800 cases, the pensioners received their Department of Social Protection pension for the first time in 2011 and so will not be liable for arrears. They are being reminded to file a tax return in October.

The most recent letters follow 150,000 letters sent in January which caused a spike in telephone calls to the Revenue from worried pensioners.

Revenue had come under attack from organisations representing older people for their handling of the issue, which emerged after updated records from the Department of Social Protection were sent to the tax collectors.

Following the controversy, chair of the Revenue Commissioners Josephine Feehily apologised before an Oireachtas committee for causing “confusion and distress to some people”. She said Revenue had received 35,000 phone calls in less than a week after the letters had been sent.

She also said a random sample of those contacted at the time suggested that previously untaxed income in some cases could be as much as €18,000, while more than a third were liable to pay tax on an extra €2,000.

She told the Oireachtas committee that Revenue would start by examining in detail 2,500 of the largest cases where the taxpayers have a non-State income of €50,000 or more a year.