Pension Tax Savings Deadlines. Technical Guide 2013

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1 Pension Tax Savings Deadlines Technical Guide 2013

2 Contents Introduction 2 Self-employed (Sole Trader) 3 Preliminary Tax 3 Can the Preliminary Tax and the Final Tax Assessment Bills be reduced? 4 Must the pension contribution be made before October 31 st this year in order to 6 backdate the relief? How does the payment of a Personal Pension/PRSA contribution before October 31 st affect 6 those self-employed individuals who opt for Basis A in calculating their Preliminary Tax Bill? Direct Debit Preliminary Tax for the Self-employed 6 Employees (including Proprietary Directors) 9 Employer Sponsored Pension Scheme Members 10 Non-pensionable Employment 11 Proprietary Directors 12 Dual Income Sources 13 Note: This guide is based on our understanding of tax law and practice as at September Individuals are advised to seek expert taxation advice with regard to the tax saving ideas mentioned in this guide.

3 Introduction October 31 st is a very important date for the self-employed, and employees (including proprietary directors), who wish to reduce their previous year s income tax liability. In addition, with the development of the Revenue Online Service (ROS) in recent years, a date in November (in 2013 this is Thursday, November 14 th ) has become equally important for those with self-employed earnings who file and pay online. In this guide, we look at how retirement savings/pension contributions made before October 31 st can be used to reduce the income tax liability in respect of the previous tax year for both: 1. the self-employed; and 2. employees (including proprietary directors); and, before November 14 th for those with self-employed earnings. We also look at how retirement savings/pension contributions paid by employees, including proprietary directors, can be used to reduce their tax liability in the current year. Notes: 1. Wherever October 31 st is referred to in these notes those who file AND pay online can substitute November 14 th (2013). 2. As Capital Gains Tax is not directly affected by pension contributions, this is not covered in the guide. 3. The Universal Social Charge (USC) and PRSI, have not been taken into account in any of the example calculations included in this guide as relief for pension contributions paid by an individual is not granted for the purposes of the USC or PRSI. 2

4 Self-employed (Sole Trader) By October 31 st each year self-employed individuals paying Income Tax under the self-assessment system must calculate their liability in relation to: 1. Preliminary Tax for the current tax year (i.e. 2013); and 2. Their Final Assessment of Income Tax, PRSI and USC liability for the previous tax year (i.e. year ended December 31 st 2012). The total liability must be calculated, the income tax return must be submitted and the total amount due must be paid by the relevant date. Preliminary Tax Preliminary Tax is the individual s estimate of his/her Income Tax, PRSI and USC liability for the current year (2013). Unless he/she has authorised the Collector-General to collect Income Tax by direct debit, the minimum amount of Preliminary Tax he/she must pay to avoid interest charges is the lower of: Basis A: 90% of the final liability for the current tax year (i.e. 2013) and Basis B: 100% of the final liability for the immediately preceding year (i.e. 2012) Note: Any given tax year s liability is calculated on the profits arising in the self-employed person s business year ending within that tax year (e.g. if the business year ended on June 30 th, the liability for the 2013 tax year is calculated on the profits generated from July 1 st 2012 to June 30 th 2013). 3

5 Basis B Example (Self-employed, 41% taxpayer, age 45) Final Assessment liability for 2012 tax year 25,000 Preliminary Tax paid in October ,000 Balance of 2012 s liability due October 31 st ,000 Preliminary Tax due October 31 st 2013 (based on 100% of 2012 tax year s liability) 25,000 Total tax payment due October 31 st 2013 (i.e. 7,000 plus 25,000) 32,000 Q: Can the Preliminary Tax and the Final Tax Assessment Bills be reduced? The short answer to this question is a very emphatic Yes. Self-employed individuals liable to Income Tax under Schedule D, Case I and II (i.e. trades and professions) and Case III (i.e. trades or professions exercised wholly outside the State) are entitled to claim relief against Income Tax in respect of Personal Pension and/or Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) contributions up to the following limits for the 2012 and 2013 tax years: Age (during relevant tax year) % of Net Relevant Earnings Under 30 years of age 15% years of age 20% years of age 25% years of age 30% years of age 35% 60 years of age and over 40% Notes: 1. Net Relevant Earnings (NRE) are capped at 115,000 for the purpose of calculating allowable contribution amounts in the 2012 and 2013 tax years. 2. Age is attained age on the last day of the relevant tax year. 4

6 The regulations governing tax relief on Personal Pension and PRSA contributions allow self-employed individuals to elect to backdate to the preceding tax year for tax relief purposes any contributions made between the end of the previous tax year and October 31 st in the current year (providing Revenue have been notified of the election to backdate the income tax relief to the preceding tax year by 31 st October as well). As a result, they may become entitled to a refund of tax paid in relation to the previous tax year. Basis B Example continued from above (Self-employed, 41% taxpayer, age 45) Net Relevant Earnings in 2012 tax year 80,000 Personal Pension Contribution paid before October 31 st 2013 (25% of NRE for 2012) 20,000 Final Assessment for 2012 tax year reduced to: i.e.( 25,000 less 41% of 20,000) 16,800 Refund of tax due from the Revenue Commissioners on October 31 st 2013 is 1,200 (i.e. 18,000 Preliminary Tax paid in October 2012 less 16,800 Final Assessment). In this example the self-employed individual can also reduce his/her Preliminary Tax bill for the current year, because this bill is based on 100% of the previous year s liability. In effect, this means a double tax advantage in the current year. Preliminary Tax Due October 31 st 2013 (i.e. 100% of Final Assessment for 2012) 16,800 A reduction in the Preliminary Tax payable of: 8,200 Total Tax Liability Due October 31 st 2013 (i.e. 16,800 less 1,200 refund due) 15,600 Total Tax Payment Reduction October 31 st 2013 (i.e. 32,000 total liability [see page 3] less 15,600 above) 16,400 Thus a retirement savings contribution of 20,000 results in an immediate tax saving of 16,400 a double tax advantage. Of course, this double tax advantage occurs only in the first year of retirement funding and will eventually even out to one year s tax advantage for each year s contribution. However, there is also the advantage from a cash-flow perspective that the payment of tax has been deferred to a later date. 5

7 Q: Must the pension contribution be made before October 31st this year in order to backdate the relief? Yes, the contribution must be made and the relief claimed by October 31st in order to receive the backdated relief on it. If the self-employed individual makes a once-off contribution by October 31st he/she can then commence a monthly-paid plan from November 1st, ensuring a full year s contribution is paid by October 31st next year. If he/she finds that his/her earnings for the current tax year are greater than assumed when calculating the monthly contribution, then he/she can make a once-off contribution to the plan before October 31st next year up to the age-related maximum allowable and subject to the earnings limit, and obtain backdated tax relief on it. Monthly contributions are probably the most satisfactory method of making contributions from a cash-flow point of view. Q: How does the payment of a Personal Pension/PRSA contribution before October 31st affect those self-employed individuals who opt for Basis A in calculating their Preliminary Tax Bill? Once a pension contribution is used to reduce the preceding year s tax liability, it would be unlikely that the individual involved would use Basis A (i.e. 90% of the final liability for the current year) for calculating the Preliminary Tax liability. This would only be likely to happen where the individual has suffered a substantial drop in earnings in the current year. Where an individual does opt for Basis A any retirement savings contributions paid before October 31st of the current year (i.e. 2013) can be backdated for tax relief purposes and used to reduce their final assessment for last year (i.e. 2012). However, they will not automatically reduce their Preliminary Tax bill for the current year, because the calculation of the bill is not based on the previous year s reduced liability. But, if they are committed to paying further contributions before October 31st next year, they can reduce the Preliminary Tax due on October 31st of the current year. For example, starting a monthly contribution on November 1st 2013 will ensure a full year s pension contribution will be paid before October 31st 2014 and these monthly contributions can then be taken into account in calculating this year s Preliminary Tax in anticipation of an election to backdate the contributions made in 2014 to the 2013 tax year. Direct Debit Preliminary Tax for the Self-employed Under the income tax self-assessment system, in order to lessen the impact of Preliminary Tax by lump sum payment, the Revenue Commissioners grant self-employed individuals the option to pay their Preliminary Tax bill by monthly direct debit. Direct debit payments are credited against the Preliminary Tax due by October 31st of the calendar year in which the direct debit payments are made. That is, payments made in 2014 will be credited against the Preliminary Tax payment due in the 2014 tax year. 6

8 For those who already use the scheme, deductions can start each year on January 9th, although the Revenue Commissioners are prepared to accept deductions commencing on the 9th of any month up to May 9th. The total sum payable must be paid by the following December 9th. When deductions start in January, the total sum payable will be paid by twelve equal instalments, while if they start in May, for example, there will be eight equal instalments. Applications should be made online through ROS (Revenue Online Service), or for those who are not ROS-registered, application forms must be returned to the Collector-General s Office in Sarsfield House, Limerick, by the last day of the month preceding the month in which the deductions are to commence (e.g. April 30th 2014 for May 9th 2014 deduction commencement). Those availing of the scheme for the first time are allowed to make a minimum of three payments in the first year only, October, November and December - and the necessary documentation must be completed by September 30 th. For direct debit scheme participants, a third basis for the calculation of the Preliminary Tax to be paid may also be used (Basis C): Basis C: 105% of the pre-preceding tax year s liability (i.e for 2014 payment of tax). This option does not apply where the Income Tax payable for the pre-preceding year was nil. Where a self-employed individual opts to pay Preliminary Tax under the direct debit scheme for 2014 for example, he/she can reduce his/her preliminary tax payments in 2014 under Basis C by making a lump sum retirement savings contribution before October 31 st in the current year (i.e. 2013) as per the examples shown earlier. BASIS C EXAMPLE Before Pension Contribution of 20,000 Total self-assessment bill for 2012 tax year 25,000 Twelve monthly payments due in respect of 2014 Preliminary Tax (i.e. 25,000 x 105% 12) payable January to December 2014 inclusive 2, After Pension Contribution of 20,000 (paid by October 31 st 2012) Total self-assessment bill for 2012 tax year 16,800 Twelve monthly payments due in respect of 2014 Preliminary Tax (i.e. 16,800 x 105% 12) payable January to December 2014 inclusive 1,470 7

9 In addition to making a pension contribution before October 31 st 2013, commencing monthly contributions to a pension plan effective from November 1 st should also be very attractive to those who opt for the direct debit Preliminary Tax scheme. By commencing monthly pension contributions from November, the taxpayer will ensure that he/she will have paid a full year s contribution by October 31 st next year to offset against the 2013 final assessment and thus reduce his/her direct debit Preliminary Tax payments in the 2014 tax year. 8

10 Employees (Including Proprietary Directors) An employee paying Income Tax under the PAYE (Schedule E) system is entitled to claim relief against Income Tax on his/her personal retirement saving contributions at his/her marginal rate up to the following limits for the 2012 and 2013 tax years. Age (during relevant tax year) % Net Relevant Earnings Under 30 years of age 15% 30 to 39 years of age 20% 40 to 49 years of age 25% 50 to 54 years of age 30% 55 to 59 years of age 35% 60 years of age and over 40% Notes: 1. Net Relevant Earnings (NRE) are capped at 115,000 for the purpose of calculating allowable contribution amounts in the 2012 and 2013 tax years. 2. Age is attained age on the last day of the relevant tax year. In addition, the tax relief on certain pension contributions that he/she makes before October 31 st in any year may be backdated to reduce his/her tax liability for the previous tax year. The individual must notify his/her tax office before October 31 st of the current year (i.e. 2013) of his/her intention to backdate the relief to the previous year (i.e. 2012). The rules regarding the type of pension contract available depend upon whether he/she is a member of an employer sponsored pension scheme or is in non-pensionable employment. 9

11 Employer Sponsored Pension Scheme Members (including Public Sector Superannuation Scheme members) It is important to note that PRSA arrangements where the employer is making contributions on behalf of the employee(s) are not employer sponsored pension schemes. October 31 st Deadline Tax relief on any contributions that are special contributions under the terms of the Revenue Pension Practice Notes, paid by the scheme member between January 1 st and October 31 st may be backdated to the preceding tax year. A special contribution is a once-off contribution to a new contract or to an existing regular or single premium arrangement. For example, a 53 year old who earned 70,000 in 2012 and already contributes 10% of earnings to his occupational pension plan, and now wishes to enhance his expected retirement benefits, could contribute 14,000 (i.e. 20% of earnings) by way of a special Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC) or a special PRSA AVC (including Standalone PRSA AVC*). This would reduce his Income Tax liability for 2012 by 5,740 (i.e. 41% Income Tax relief). Note: 1. Tax refunds can be claimed by the individual through informing his/her tax district by October 31 st of the election to backdate the relief. The relevant tax relief certificate (i.e. RAC, PRSA, AVC or PRSA AVC) should be retained by the individual as proof of payment in the event of a Revenue audit. In making this contribution, the taxpayer would need to ensure that the maximum allowable retirement benefits are not likely to be exceeded. December 31 st Deadline An individual employee who is a member of an Occupational Pension Scheme can make contributions to an AVC arrangement or PRSA AVC plan (including a Standalone PRSA AVC*) by salary deduction before December 31 st this year and receive immediate relief from Income Tax only, under the net pay arrangement. In this event, there is no need to make a claim for this relief to the Revenue. The relief will be subject to the maximum contribution limits and earnings cap as outlined on page 9. * Standalone PRSA AVCs allow pension scheme members (including Public Sector Superannuation Scheme members) to use PRSAs to make Additional Voluntary Contributions independently to enhance their retirement benefits. He/she could also make a PRSA AVC contribution by cheque and receive the Income Tax relief by submitting the tax certificate to his/her tax office. In making this contribution the taxpayer needs to ensure that the maximum allowable retirement benefits are not likely to be exceeded. 10

12 Non-pensionable Employment An employee who is not a member of an Occupational Pension Scheme is considered to be in nonpensionable employment, even if his/her employer is contributing to a Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) on his/her behalf. October 31 st Deadline The tax relief on any contributions that an employee in non-pensionable employment makes to a Personal Pension and/or a PRSA between January 1 st and October 31 st may be backdated for tax relief purposes to the previous tax year. For example, a 45 year old who earned 70,000 in the 2012 tax year and who is currently contributing 300 per month by direct debit to a Personal Pension could contribute a further 13,900 [i.e. ( 70,000 x 25%) ( 300 x 12)] to a Personal Pension or a PRSA plan before October 31 st 2013 and reduce his/her tax liability for the 2012 tax year by 5,699 (i.e. 41% Income Tax relief on 13,900). He/she can also backdate the relief on his/her monthly contributions of 300 per month paid between January 1 st and October 31 st 2013 to the 2012 tax year, if he/she so wishes. This tax refund can be claimed by making a Return of Income for the previous tax year. Notes: 1. Tax refunds can be claimed by the individual through informing his/her tax district by October 31 st of the election to backdate the relief. The relevant tax relief certificate (i.e. RAC, PRSA, AVC or PRSA AVC) should be retained by the individual as proof of payment in the event of a Revenue investigation. 2. Where an employer is making contributions to an employee s PRSA, the employer s contribution is treated as a salary payment to the employee (subject to PAYE and USC), but is not liable to PRSI. The tax relief limits as detailed on page 9 apply to the employee s total income including the employer s contributions and the employer s contributions must be taken into account when calculating the employee s maximum contribution for tax relief purposes. Example: Employer age 45, earnings 95,000, employer s PRSA contribution 5,000. Maximum employee contribution 20,000 (i.e. 25% of 100,000 less 5,000 employer s contribution). 11

13 December 31 st Deadline An individual employee can make contributions to a PRSA or to a Personal Pension by salary deduction at any time before December 31 st this year and receive immediate relief from Income Tax only under the net pay arrangement. In this event, there is no need to make a claim for these reliefs to the Revenue. The relief allowed will be subject to the maximum contribution limits and earnings cap as outlined on page 9. He/she could also make a Personal Pension or PRSA contribution by cheque and receive Income Tax relief by returning the tax certificate to his/her tax office. Proprietary Directors Proprietary Directors i.e. directors who own or control more than 15% of the shares in a company are obliged to file self-assessment tax returns by October 31 st each year with the Revenue Commissioners in respect of the preceding tax year. If their income in 2012 included non-paye income they must also pay any balance of Income Tax, PRSI and USC outstanding from They must also pay Preliminary Tax on their non-paye income for the current tax year (i.e. 2013). Failure to file a return and to pay all outstanding taxes will result in a surcharge on the full tax payable for the year, regardless of PAYE or any other tax already paid. Where a liability to additional tax arises, the option of backdating relief on PRSA/pension contributions made before October 31 st, and receiving relief from Income Tax in respect of 2012 relevant earnings, as outlined above for employees may be attractive. Alternatively, a Proprietary Director may make a once-off contribution by salary deduction under the net pay arrangement by December 31 st this year and receive immediate relief from Income Tax on relevant earnings without having to make a Return of Income. Note: 20% Directors of investment companies do not qualify to make retirement saving/pension contributions or to have their companies make contributions on their behalf, even if their income is taxed under Schedule E. 12

14 Dual Income Sources Where an individual has more than one source of income, and where one of those sources is an employment that has an occupational pension scheme to which the individual contributes, special rules apply to the tax relief that can be claimed on pension contributions. As a result, many of those with both self-employed income and income from pensionable employment need advice in relation to the type of pension contributions they should make in order to maximise the tax reliefs available to them. Example 1 John had earnings of 100,000 from employment and also self-employed income of 80,000 in As he was 45 years old in 2012 he is limited to contributing 25% of his earnings to pension arrangements (subject to the aggregate earnings cap of 115,000) for tax relief purposes for that year. He contributed 5% of his employment income (i.e. 5,000) to his employer s occupational pension scheme by way of ordinary contributions in Because John has already made pension contributions in respect of his employment income, in effect, he has used up 100,000 of the aggregate earnings cap. In order to maximise the tax relief available for 2012 he must make a further contribution of 20,000 in respect of his employment income, [i.e. (25% x 100,000) 5,000]. As with any employee in pensionable employment this contribution can be made to a special AVC or special PRSA AVC arrangement before October 31 st 2013 and backdated to 2012 for tax relief purposes (see pages 9 and 10). With regard to his 2012 self-employed earnings if he is making contributions in 2013 for back-dating to 2012 he is limited to a pension contribution of 3,750 [i.e. 25% x ( 115,000 earnings minus 100,000 employment income)] for tax relief purposes. This applies whether or not he makes an AVC payment relating to his pensionable income. As with any self-employed individual this contribution can be made to a Personal Pension or PRSA before October 31 st this year and backdated to 2012 for tax relief purposes. Example 2 Mary had earnings of 130,000 from employment and also self-employed income of 50,000 in As she was 37 years old in 2012 she is limited to contributing 20% of her earnings to pension arrangements (subject to the aggregate earnings cap of 115,000) for tax relief purposes. She contributed 10% of her employment income (i.e. 13,000) to her employer s occupational pension scheme by way of ordinary contributions in Because Mary has already made pension contributions in respect of her employment income, in effect, she has used up the entire aggregate earnings cap of 115,000. Therefore, she is limited to a further contribution of 10,000 in respect of her employment income for tax relief purposes [i.e. (20% x 115,000) minus 13,000]. As with any employee in pensionable employment this contribution can be made to a special AVC or special PRSA AVC arrangement before October 31 st and backdated to 2012 for tax relief purposes (see pages 9 and 10). She is not entitled to tax relief on pension contributions pertaining to her 2012 self-employed earnings, even if she does not make an AVC payment in respect of that year. 13

15 Print Ref: ZURL PB92 0 Zurich Life Assurance plc Zurich House, Frascati Road, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Telephone: Fax: Website: Zurich Life Assurance plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Intended for distribution within the Republic of Ireland. The tax and legislative information contained herein is based on Zurich Life s understanding of current practice as at August 2013 and may change in the future.

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