Review of expenses scheme angers accountants

One of Ireland’s top accounting representative groups has lashed out at Revenue’s review of the flat-rate expenses scheme, saying 500,000 could ultimately be affected and that some individuals could lose out on gains from the Budget.

Brian Keegan, director of public policy and taxation at Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI), said changes to the scheme coming into effect next year affecting around 80,000 people were “ill-timed and difficult for employers and employees alike”.

Employees are entitled to claim tax deductions on expenses incurred “wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of their employment, to the extent which the expenses are not reimbursed by the employer”.

The flat-rate regime was introduced in order to make administering these claims easier.

It allows workers in certain sectors to claim a certain amount based on the expenses employees tend to occur in their industry.

Now however, Revenue is carrying out a review to see if the amounts being given out under the flat-rate regime are still appropriate. It said people may be affected in different ways, with some industries seeing an increase in the amount workers can claim as flat-rate expenses, while others might see a reduction or the amount removed entirely.

Those who have the amount removed will still be able to claim for expenses, but it will become more cumbersome.

CAI said that though no one should claim an amount to which they’re not entitled, many workers would be put off by the red tape and lose out on a benefit to which they were previously entitled.

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