TWO thirds of taxpayers in Ireland do not claim the tax reliefs and refunds they are owed on a yearly basis.
This was one of the primary findings of the latest Taxback.com Taxpayer Sentiment Survey Series 2021. The research from more than 3,200 taxpayers from Taxback.com’s nationwide database, also found that the biggest reason for not submitting a claim was the fact that people simply didn’t think they’d be entitled to anything (29%), while 20% said they thought the process would be too complicated and/or time-consuming.
Almost half of all respondents to the survey (48%) said they would fear that by submitting a claim they might discover that in fact, they owe Revenue money, rather than the other way round.
Marian Ryan, Consumer Tax Manager at Taxback.com commented on the findings: “Not enough people claim their tax back – this is something we know already but is supported by the results of this survey. Many people say they don’t think they’re owed anything – but we need to dispel this assumption. If you pay for a GP visit just once in the year, you will be owed a tax refund. So, it’s really a case that people simply aren’t aware of their entitlements. There are so many different tax reliefs out there, it’s often the case that people can avail of refunds on transactions or services that they would never expect. These can range from more common tax expenses such as medical and doctors’ fees, or tuition fees, right through to flat-rate expenses, relief on IVF treatments, the Home Carer Tax Credit, and overpaid USC.
“While understandable, given that tax is a complicated area – the reasons given by our respondents just highlight the real need to create greater awareness amongst the general public of the existence and availability of tax reliefs and supports.
"It’s also concerning to see that so many people would be worried that by submitting a claim, they may alert Revenue to a tax bill that they unknowingly have. We work with thousands of taxpayers every year, and the instances of this happening are minute. And if there is ever a case where the person ends up owing money, this is usually offset by the refund they are due.
“We certainly saw a bit of a jump in the last five years in the number of people saying they want to “pay their fair share in taxes”. While there’s no way of knowing for sure what accounts for this movement, perhaps what we have all experienced over the course of the last 12 months might have a role to play – the payment of wage supports from Exchequer funds have kept people and households afloat, when they might otherwise have been in dire financial straits, so perhaps more people now acknowledge the importance of taxes.”
“It is our mission to see more people taking an interest in, and control over, their tax affairs for their own financial benefit. It’s understandable that people would be wary to take greater control in this part of their finances, and would just see it as something that their employer sorts out for them each month. Taxes can seem confusing and overwhelming at first glance.
"However, in terms of claiming a tax refund, all the steps are in place to make the process as easy and pain free as possible. Whether you engage through Revenue or a dedicated service provider, it’s a relatively quick and easy pathway to potentially more money in your pocket from the taxman.
"Gaining knowledge is the best way to counteract any fears about claiming and a little research can go a long way. Millions of euro in tax refunds go unclaimed by the Irish public every year, so it’s an important entitlement to become more aware of, and to engage with to a greater extent.”