Ah humans, we’re a lovely bunch aren’t we? An industrious lot some might say. Always finding ways to adapt, to evolve…...to manipulate. No matter what, if a situation exists where someone can be scammed, then get in line sweetie because there is already a slew of people that have beat you to it. It’s no different this time.
With the introduction of PAYE Modernisation a number of dodgy tax refund websites have sprung up left right and centre with the aim of conning you, yes YOU, out of your hard earned punts and pignins.
These sites basically offer to process tax refunds on your behalf and “all” they ask in return is 10% of the final amount of your rebate whilst also asking you to input your personal details such as your DOB, bank details, PPSN number, and so on. So never mind that this is a pretty bad deal already, the worst thing is that all they do is take the exact same information that you just typed in, and then type the exact same information into the Revenue website and charge you for the courtesy of doing so!
Daylight robbery doesn’t even cover it. The absolute CHEEK of it doesn’t even cover it either! People are needlessly giving these sites a cut of their tax refund, as well as their personal details….for nothing! Zilch. Zero. Nada!
Now I’ve known some amadán úfásachs in my life. There was a boy in my class, Séamus, who thought that teachers lived in the staff room and that chocolate milk came from brown cows. My own mother thought I was going to grow up to be a nice respectable young woman. HA! But giving someone online your details and money for nothing? Now that is just plain stupid. #sorrynotsorry
So what has this got to do with PAYE Modernisation? Where is my tax refund? How come I’ve never seen a baby pigeon? Well, under the new PAYE system, employers have to report employees’ pay and deductions each time they are paid instead of once a year. For anyone who is not properly registered under the PAYE system (for example, a foreign national newly arrived to Ireland) they will be put on emergency tax until they’re registered. This will most likely result in a surge of people claiming tax rebates throughout the year.
Now besides the sheer silliness of it all there is also a more insidious side to all this. I have a feeling the “STRANGER DANGER” of the current generation will be “do not give your bank details to someone who asks for it online”. Not only that, but with all the details you are required to enter they basically have everything they need to impersonate you online whenever they want.
There is also an additional risk that these companies will overstate expense estimates on your behalf in the hope of getting a bigger refund, thus a higher percentage of their cut. If you are later audited by Revenue and they found that you used one of these websites that supplied fake information on your behalf (even without your knowledge) then you, yes YOU, and not the company would be liable for interest and penalties.
Be safe, be savvy, be sassy. That’s my motto. (That, and “there’s always time for a chicken nugget”). Think twice before using these sites or, you know, just don’t! It’s really not that arduous to apply for a refund yourself so don’t be lazy; it will be one less headache to deal with.