Contracting in Ireland: How to Find a Good Tax Accountant

By rotide
Created 17/01/2020 - 15:22
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But, if you're self-employed or you receive extra income in addition to your PAYE earnings, you'll be required to complete and file your own tax return. So, if your tax affairs are complex, or the thought of filling forms brings you out in a sweat, it could be a good idea to consult a tax professional. But how do you go about finding a good one?

Look for professional qualifications

Any research into prospective accountancy firms should begin by establishing whether the staff are registered with an appropriate professional body. In Ireland, the accountancy landscape is dominated by four main organisations: Chartered Accountants Ireland; the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA); the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA); and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

An accountant or tax adviser with professional qualifications will be regulated by their association and should keep their skills up to date. Invest time in finding the right adviser for your needs and be sure to check whether team members belong to a professional institute.

Assess your needs

The kind of accountancy services you require will depend on the complexity of your business. Under the self-assessment tax system in Ireland, all self-employed people are obliged to report their income to the Revenue Commissioners and file a tax return. But it's not just freelancers and contractors that need to comply.

You will also need to file a return if you are a company director, a landlord earning a rental income, or you have an investment income. In fact, anyone who earns money in addition to their PAYE salary will need to complete a Form 11 [1] and could potentially benefit from enlisting a tax adviser to calculate their tax liability.

Get a quote

With everyone from part time piano teachers to company directors potentially in need of accountancy services, it's unsurprising that the range and remit of tax advisors can vary.

If your needs are relatively straightforward, there are some firms that will simply collect your data and file a return on your behalf for a minimal fee. For those with more complex needs, or if you have queries regarding expenses or tax reliefs, think about engaging an adviser with whom you can discuss your accounts in more detail.

Consider whether you need to meet your accountant face-to-face and remember to check whether they charge by the hour, as this can increase the fee if there are complications.

There are also many reasonably-priced online services, often coming in at under €200, that charge a flat fee or provide a fixed price from the outset. Options such as Tax Return Plus [2] provide great value for those that can't afford expensive accountancy fees, yet still need assistance and advice regarding their tax liability.

Consider value for money

Before you engage an accountant, remember to establish the basis of fees and when they must be paid. If you're meeting one-to-one, check whether this is free of charge. Ask for an estimate or get a quote up front and remember to check what's included - you don't want to be hit with additional surcharges for ‘add-ons' or ‘extras' down the line.

A good accountant will be able to analyse your return to see if any tax savings can be made. Certain business expenses can be claimed against tax, such as accountancy fees, materials and phone bills. Your accountant should offer advice on the type of expenses that can be deducted, as well as on any tax reliefs for which you may be eligible.

With all this information at their fingertips, your accountant will be able to calculate your Preliminary Tax so you can file and pay on time. Under the Irish self-assessment tax system, the Revenue

Commissioners requires you to estimate and pay your tax for the current tax year and settle any outstanding balance for the previous year by 31st October.

Don't leave it to the last minute

Bear in mind that with everyone trying to hit that October deadline, this can be a busy time of the year for accountants. Most require you to file information in advance, but if you do provide information at the eleventh hour, your accountant may not be able to protect you from late payment penalties.

Allow time to do due diligence when choosing an adviser to complete your personal income tax return - that way you can relax and enjoy peace of mind that everything is filed accurately and efficiently, minimising your risk of a tax enquiry from the Revenue Commissioners. 

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