Do you have income from overseas you haven’t told Revenue about?

Deadline approaching on May 1st for disclosure of offshore assets to Revenue

Irish residents must pay tax here on their worldwide income, including that from Britain and the North. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Irish residents must pay tax here on their worldwide income, including that from Britain and the North. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

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Have you ever lived abroad? Perhaps you get a pension from there? Or do you still have a house, shares or a bank account overseas? If so and you are living in Ireland, you might want to make sure you are tax compliant – and soon. The Revenue Commissioners are clamping down on such offshore assets held by Irish residents.

You have until May 1st to declare overseas assets to Revenue, ideally through Revenue.ie, or face the possibility of penalties or prosecution.

Don’t be surprised if you were not aware of this clampdown by the Revenue; it was highlighted in last year’s budget, but it is new.

Irish residents must pay tax here on their worldwide income, including that earned in Britain and the North. Tax authorities in different countries are now working more closely with each other. So the Irish Revenue may already have received details held by tax authorities in other countries on you, or may get them later this year. Either way, voluntary disclosure before the deadline is the best way to avoid getting into trouble.

They are looking for details of holiday homes, pensions, bank accounts, shares – any source of income or assets you may have. It is perfectly legal to receive an income or profit from such overseas assets, but you need to let Revenue know, and pay any tax that may be due.

There is good information on the Revenue website on this topic including a list of frequently asked questions, which covers everything from that old bank account from your J1 days in the US, to sending money abroad or buying property there.

There is also a calculator to help you work out how much you may owe, and information on making a “qualifying disclosure”.

Not everyone who has assets overseas will have to pay tax; it depends on the income you are receiving from that asset. Happily, if you have no tax liability, you don’t have to make a disclosure.

“Taxation is complex and it is possible that there might have been changes in the law or in the treatment of foreign investments of which you are not aware,” the Revenue says. “Now is a good opportunity to review your foreign investments, accounts and assets, including shareholdings in foreign companies to check whether you have a liability that you may not have been aware.”

For a comprehensive explanation of the Revenue rules and what you need to do before the May 1st deadline, see Dominic Coyle’s response to a reader with two modest offshore accounts, which was published in the personal finance section of The Irish Times recently.

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