By Elias Hazou
WITH a week to go to the deadline, thousands have left it to the last moment to file their income tax forms.
The cut-off date for submitting printed income tax returns is next Thursday, April 30, while online submissions via the TAXISnet service may be carried out until July 31.
Income tax must be paid – whether the forms are filed by hand or electronically – by June 30.
This has created a paradox, whereby people choosing to file electronically are required to pay before the absolute deadline for submitting the paperwork.
Klelia Papadopoulou, a senior official at the Tax Department, conceded the discrepancy, but said officialdom’s thinking behind it was that everyone should pay their taxes by the same date.
An effort would be made to correct this discrepancy in the future, by bringing forward the date by which online forms should be submitted, closer to the June 30 payment deadline.
This year, for the first time, it is compulsory for people to calculate what they owe in tax and fill out the relevant form, appended to the income tax statement.
Speaking to the state broadcaster, Papadopoulou said the Tax Department has posted on its webpage (www.mof.gov.cy/tax) an Excel spreadsheet tool to help people to calculate their tax, as well as a guide on filling out tax forms along with a Frequently Asked Questions document.
Responding to complaints that this would complicate matters for wage-earners and pensioners, she said the self-taxation form contains only five fields.
Moreover, she added, for 2014 the employers have already withheld the tax, so most of the work has already been done.
There were reports that the queues of people going to file their forms extended outside the building, but Papadopoulou said that the waiting time was being kept at a minimum.
What’s more, thousands of pensioners only this week received their certificate of earnings form from the Treasury, leaving them precious little time to complete their income tax returns.
Pensioners with net earnings under €19,500 are not obliged to submit an income tax return.
Where tax payments are past due, a 10 per cent penalty on the amount owed is incurred, plus a yearly interest of 4 per cent.
For tax rebate claims, taxpayers must fill out the special refund form provided and write their IBAN number, as all rebates are now made by wire transfer.
Only people who have filed income tax returns manually are required to fill out the refund form. In these cases, the state must refund taxpayers within a maximum of six months.
Where tax forms have been submitted online, the refund takes place within two months after the end of the month on which the forms were filed.
Papadopoulou assured the public that, in the event a person has made an error in calculating their tax dues, and the Tax Department takes for example two years to notify the person of the mistake, the taxpayer will not end up paying the penalty and interest accruing for the outstanding amount during the two years.
The Tax Department offices may be reached from 8.30am to 3pm daily at the following phone numbers: Nicosia 22807214/ 22807458/ 22807309; Limassol 25803700; Larnaca 24803624/ 24803625 / 24803626 / 24803627 / 24803628; Paphos 26804335/ 26804354; and Famagusta 23811451/ 23811457.