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Income Tax Returns for 2009 must be filed by 31 October 2010. Failure to file on time will lead to surcharges. Here are tax tips that can definitely help you.

The way our system works, we pay a preliminary Income Tax for 2010 on 31 Oct 2010 and we file the actual return for 2010 in 2011 and at that time, we balance up for any over/underpayments. 31 Oct 2010 is the latest date for filing for 2009- if you had an overpayment for 2009 you could file early in order to get the repayment earlier.

Note that if you are filing on ROS you get an extension until 16 November. To avail of this deadline, both the Return and the Payment must be made online. Where only one of these actions is completed through ROS, the extension will not apply.

The preliminary tax paid must be 90% of the actual liability for 2010 or 100% of the tax bill of the 2009’s tax bill (excluding some items).

Any balance of tax due for 2010 must be paid by 31 October 2011 (2009 balance falling due by 31 October 2010).

Tip: If profits are down in 2010 on 2009, as they are for many, it may be worth while paying on the estimated 2010 profits. You would want to be confident of your estimates.

Tip: You can make pension contributions for 2009 up to 31 October 2010. In this way pension contributions made up to31 October 2010 will reduce your tax liability for 2009. The maximum tax effective contribution ranges from 15% of net relevant earnings for persons under 30 years of age to 40% of earnings for persons aged 60 or over. This is subject to an overall deemed earnings cap of €150,000 in 2009.

Tip: Check that you are utilising all available credits. These include medical insurance credits, local authority service charges, employment specific (employees only), certain charitable contributions, certain school payments, certain college fees. You would be surprised at how many tax payers ignore these

Tip: Make sure also that, where possible, you utilise the low tax band as effectively as possible.

Tip: Note in particular that taxpayers are entitled to make a back year claim for up to 4 years for reliefs due but not claimed.

This is very much summary information. It should not be used as a definitive guideline. You should take advice from a qualified advisor before making any significant decisions. Here is another article that can help you improve your taxes.

As always, if you have any comments or questions please email me – jim (at) accountsplus (dot) ie.