Enhanced reporting requirements 2024: key advice for Irish businesses

James Greene

Published on September 14, 2023

A change is here for companies reporting certain payments to employees. Irish Tax and Customs (AKA “Revenue) has determined that from 1 January 2024, companies have to report certain payments and benefits that weren’t previously required. What’s more, the reporting method and steps to fulfil this requirement may mean extra work and new processes for businesses. 

This article explores these new rules and offers a few simple solutions to prepare. Fear not, this change shouldn’t lead to panic. For modern businesses with smart processes in place, it’ll be a smooth, simple transition.

Disclaimer: This guide provides an overview of the rules as shared by Revenue. Seek legal and/or tax advice if you need specific guidance for your business.

Enhanced employer reporting from 1 January 2024

Based on the latest Revenue guidance, the new reporting procedure is live from the start of 2024. The impetus comes from Section 897C of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, introduced by the Finance Act 2022. (If the dates on those pieces of legislation are confusing to you, you’re not alone.)

In March 2023, Revenue issued a brief setting out new rules for non-payroll payments. 

What’s changing?

You were already required to report most benefits and payments made to employees as part of payroll. But a few such payments - including travel expenses and remote work allowances - were not part of these filings. 

Now, they are.

As Revenue itself explains in the brief above, “employers are already required to capture and maintain this information. The new requirement is that this information will be reported to Revenue when the reportable benefit is provided to the director/employee.”

So it’s no longer enough to merely keep records of certain payments (detailed below). Now you have to proactively submit these to Revenue as part of your payroll declaration. 

Note: Spendesk helps you keep expenses and payments in order, which makes preparing your submission easier. But you cannot submit directly from Spendesk. Use your accounting software for this final step.

What’s included? 

The new process relates specifically to three key payment classes:

Travel expenses

Here we’re talking specifically about payments to employees (or directors) related to travel. Expense reimbursements and per diems are the most common examples, but this would also include accommodation and travel from point to point. 

From 2024, companies need to report all: 

  • Travel payments, both vouched (with proof of purchase) and unvouched

  • Subsistence (meals while travelling), again whether proof is provided or not

  • Payments made for site-based employees

  • Emergency travel

  • Eating on site

You must report the amount paid to each employee for the above categories.

Remote Working daily allowance

This allowance payment has obviously grown in usage in recent years. Companies can pay remote employees up to €3.20 without deducting tax, insurance, or social charges. Anything above this rate is taxable (as it essentially represents a salary increase).

This payment is to compensate for the added electricity, internet, heating, and other charges employees may experience when working from home. 

You must report the amount paid per employee, and the number of days concerned.

Small benefit exemption

This exemption lets employers offer staff extra benefits up to the value of €1,000 tax free. This is somewhat similar to the salary sacrifice scheme in the UK and other jurisdictions. But there are a few catches: 

  • You can offer up to two benefits per year

  • They cannot be in cash or salary

  • Vouchers or benefits given cannot be redeemed in cash

And now, you must report the value given for each employee. 

What’s not included?

Companies are already obliged to report on a range of payments and benefits to staff. The PAYE Modernisation programme went live in 2019, and includes:

  • Pay

  • Tax

  • USC and PRSI deductions

  • Taxable benefits

  • Pension contributions

  • Redundancy payments

To be clear, you must declare these payments to Revenue. They’re just part of your normal payroll process, and nothing changes with these enhancements.

Important extras

We still don’t know exactly how all of this will work in practice. But Revenue has signalled a few factors to consider: 

  • Declarations must be made for each payment or benefit received.

  • These declarations must be made on or before the date on which the employee receives their payment or benefit.

  • You can upload a consolidated file, or manually input data for each employee.

That last point is good news, but also needs your attention. You absolutely do not want to input data employee by employee. Which means you need a simple way to consolidate records. 

Why is Revenue introducing enhanced reporting rules?

According to Revenue’s own guidance, enhanced reporting frees up its compliance resources. It can quickly and easily identify the businesses that report on time and in full, and thus can focus its energy on those that don’t.

We’ve seen a similar approach across the EU with e-invoicing regulations. Installing efficient, electronic tax reporting procedures lets administrations enforce the rules more easily, and pay less attention to those following them. 

What this means for Irish companies

Irish businesses need to assess their processes immediately. By the time you read this, January 2024 may either be weeks away or already in the rearview mirror. Either way, if this is news to you, it’s time to get moving.

Identify which payments you currently make

This seems obvious, but it’s worth taking a moment to consider. For each of the payment classes above, you need to know:

  • How much you pay in each tax period

  • Who the payments are made to (they now need to be linked to employee payroll)

  • Where to find the above information, and how easily you can consolidate this

If you run a tight ship and have all this information to hand, that’s great. But most likely there’s an element of it depends. And that added complexity means more work come reporting time.

Prepare for digital reporting

Even if you only make a single payment all year, you must report using the Revenue Online Service (ROS). As the name suggests, this is a digital, online portal. So companies relying on paper processes will have a hard time submitting records.

Now’s the time to digitalise your expense claims process and receipt collection. Even better: go digital by default. More on this shortly. 

Consider internal responsibilities

The obvious first question is: who will submit our information to Revenue? For many businesses this is clear and simple. But for some, travel expenses are handled separately from payroll costs. 

A few questions to ask: 

  • Who has access to the information required, and do/should they also have access to payroll data?

  • How can different business functions collaborate effectively, without risking team members’ privacy?

  • What responsibilities does the average employee have when filing expenses? And are these clear to all? 

If the answers to these fairly basic questions aren’t clear, there’s no shame. But now’s the time to remedy that issue.

Best practices to enhance your reporting

Once you’ve considered the points above, it’s time to prepare. And while this transition has the potential to be painful, a few simple steps can remove most of the sting. 

For this, we’ll mostly focus on travel expenses. These are the most ad hoc, unpredictable, and can quickly add up. Remote work and small benefits are, by comparison, relatively easy to administer and report. 

We’ll go from the very basic to the most optimal.

1. Digitise expenses by default

If you’re using paper expense claims and physical receipts, that’s an issue. This new process mandates digital reporting. So the best case scenario is you have some manual data entry to do each payroll round, and everything ends up in the file cabinet. 

But paper files always lead to lost documents, and manual data entry leads to errors. You can avoid this altogether if employees submit their claims digitally and scan their receipts. That’s a great start.

2. Track expenses automatically

The typical entry point to digital expenses is Excel files and emails. Each employee types up their claims for the month, attaches scanned receipts, and sends them in to a finance or admin inbox. 

This is certainly better than a physical in-tray, but still causes issues. The finance manager has to open each one-by-one and transfer the details to an accounting tool (or master Excel sheet). This takes time and (again) leads to mistakes. 

Here, a dedicated expense management software is a much better option. This compiles all the company’s claims and supporting documents in one place, assigned to each employee. You don’t need to wade through email inboxes, and most claims and receipts are submitted on time. 

3. Integrate the whole process

The perfect (most efficient and accurate) reporting approach is to upload a consolidated file to ROS. That saves you having to input data employee by employee. And even better if you don’t first have to manually consolidate this file yourself.

A spend management system like Spendesk does most of the hard work for you. Employees make each claim through the platform, and you have a record of their name, the amount spent, their receipt, and any other information you need. The platform also checks for duplicates, mismatching receipts, or other anomalies. 

The consolidated file needs to be sent to ROS from your accounting system, not Spendesk. But you'll have all this spend data up to date and ready to export to your ERP or accounting platform. And from there you can export the file. Easy.

4. Eliminate expense claims altogether

The simplest fix is to stop using expense claims in the first place. That doesn’t mean eliminating business travel - instead, you give employees access to payment methods so they don’t need to use their own money

You can easily give every employee their own company card. Those cards can have customised controls, and every payment is tracked in real time. Employees have the convenience and familiarity of a credit card, but the company has complete control and visibility. 

The result: you don’t need to make reimbursement payments, and you don’t have anything to report to Revenue. Instead, travel expenses are just part of your typical business costs and get reported as normal, with all the documents and proofs of purchase you need.

Plus, employees don’t go weeks out of pocket, and there’s no messy expense reporting process

Prepare easily for the enhanced reporting requirements

If that previous paragraph sounds appealing, we’re here to help. You actually can eliminate the vast majority of expense claims in a simple, cost-effective way - without sacrificing security or smart decision making. 

Spendesk’s smart company cards remove the need for expense claims altogether:

You also get a smooth, digital-first process on the odd occasion where employees do need to file a claim. And it’s the same process as they use for invoices, card payments, and even team budgeting. So there’s no training required.

There’s no simpler way to keep company costs in check, close the books quickly, and prepare for Ireland’s new reporting requirements.

Want to know more? Do get in touch.

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