Most workers failing to claim tax refunds, survey finds

Average refund of €1,250 secured for workers in Taxback.com employee initiative

More than half of Irish workers are failing to claim reliefs they are entitled to on their taxes, a new survey has found.

The taxpayer sentiment survey, conducted by tax advisers Taxback. com, also found that eight in 10 workers were not even aware of flat rate expenses to which they might be entitled to cover costs such as uniforms and equipment they need for their jobs.

"It's surprising, and somewhat alarming, to find that almost half of us are still not claiming back our tax refund at the end of the year," said Barry Cahill, director of Taxback.com's employee financial wellbeing service. He added that the number of people claiming reliefs annually should be much higher.

“However, the data speaks for itself. It’s clear that people remain uncertain, reticent and/or unwilling to approach the topic of their taxes, often for fear of the process complicating their lives more.”

The survey found that one in six workers had claimed tax refunds only once over the course of their working life and 11 per cent said they made claims "only very sporadically".

One in five has not even set up an online Revenue account – now the main channel for individual returns and refund claims – or do not even know what it is, the survey found.

Average refund

Mr Cahill said the experience of Taxback.com was that, for the vast majority of people they worked with, there was money owed to, and not by, the taxpayer.

He added that the average refund taxpayers working with its employee financial wellbeing service had received was €1,250. In one case, a worker was refunded €7,400 in tax paid.

“This is a lot of money to be leaving in the hands of the taxman,” Mr Cahill said. “Furthermore, the longer you leave it, the less likely you are to apply at all, and you also run the risk of going past the four-year deadline.”

Claims for tax refunds must be made within four years after the year it occurred. Taxback.com’s employee financial wellbeing initiative, which was established last year, works with companies to help staff get their financial affairs in order, including submitting tax returns for workers where they are due refunds.

The survey was released ahead of the company’s Employee Wellbeing Summit 2022, which takes place online on Tuesday.

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle is Deputy Business Editor of The Irish Times

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