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Mobile App for filing tax returns launched
A NEW mobile phone App which allows members of the public, companies and sole traders to file their annual tax returns with one click is due for launch in a month's time.
The App, created by the tax collection agency or Agencia Tributaria, is suitable for those who, upon receiving their draft return form or borrador, do not have to add any additional information or paperwork.
Nowadays, thanks to interactive technology, details about mortgages, pension funds, personal loans, deposit and current account balances and other banking data – and even charity donations made – are automatically sent to the tax authority and included on the borrador.
Many of these elements, such as credit and pensions, are offset against annual tax and help to reduce the bill, but until a few years ago, customers typically had to hand in piles of papers from their banks along with their borradores.
This means that in theory, the vast majority of individuals' and sole traders' borradores will be correct and only need to be signed and returned – which they will be able to do at the touch of a button on their phones from Thursday, March 15.
Around 4.8 million taxpayers will be able to use the system to file their returns, which means if they are due a refund, they will receive this much earlier in the year.
Instead of running from late April until mid-June, the tax declaration period has been extended to give the public more time to file their returns.
They can now do so on or after April 4, meaning rebates due could even be in their bank accounts before May, although those who need extra time will have until July 2 inclusive to deal with their affairs.
Anyone who uses the App but needs to add extra information to their draft return will be redirected to the dedicated tax office website, Renta Web, where they will be able to add in the details.
The App requires the user to register and will then allow for personalised messages to be sent and reference numbers given, among other services.
Borrador details will be available from the day the App is launched in mid-March, although users will not be able to confirm and return them until April 4.
Telephone helpline services have been extended this year, and will now, for the first time, operate independently of the tax office and be open from April 4.
The aim of the helpline reinforcements, Renta Web and the tax return App is to reduce the number of visits to local tax offices, therefore cutting the queues and preventing staff from becoming snowed under.
Visits can therefore be limited to especially complex cases.
Last year alone, a total of 2.2 million members of the public went to their tax office in person, and as many as 860,000 only needed to sign their borrador and hand it in – something they could have done online, saving everyone time, and which they can now do even more easily through the App.
Draft returns will cease to be sent out in hard copies by post this year, a practice which has been gradually reducing in recent times.
Last year, of the more than three million paper copies sent by post, only 727 were presented to the authorities.
Back in 2010, only 49% of annual declarations were made online, but by last year, this had risen to 88%.
Also, 52% were filed in the first two months of 'tax return season', allowing refunds of overpaid taxes and payments due in the event of a shortfall to be processed much more quickly.
More and more taxpayers are filing their returns as early as they are able to, given that they will get rebates much more quickly.
And with most of the processing work taking place at the beginning of the season, online declarations increasing and personal visits to branches reducing, the tax office is able to release rebates much sooner and avoid backlogs.
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