In a world of paper-free options and the necessity for convenience, even our tax payments need to be submitted at lightning speed in order to keep up with the pace of business today. In line with Government’s commitment in continuing to enhance e-services, the Office of the Commissioner for Revenue has embarked on the provision of online services through eForms, mobile Government services (mServices) and other electronic services and applications. These forms were introduced to help users interact with the Department, to inform users about services and procedures, and to file returns, declarations and other forms. Now, with a number of services already successfully in place on-line, the Office is soon to introduce the new mandatory filing of VAT returns for all companies and business operators that employ 10 or more people.
“Over the last few months, the Department has been informing, in writing, all the above-mentioned businesses that they will be receiving a VAT return through the post for the last time,” explained Andrew Buhagiar, Senior Systems Analyst for the Office of the Commissioner for Revenue. “As from the next VAT period, the relative VAT form must be submitted using the online services.” There are all sorts of reasons to use these services, with a variety of benefits for businesses including 24/7 access, efficiency and re-liability, online validations, real time updates, and security and history logs. Online services can save a business money, cut down on paperwork, and provide users with the ability to communicate and manage the business from different locations.
Mr Buhagiar went on to explain that the online VAT return system was enhanced this year to meet certain demands put for-ward from stakeholders. “Some examples of this include the in-putting of negative values, the concept of having the payment reference visible after submitting the VAT return, the viewing and correction of the VAT return up to the extension of seven days, and validations in Boxes 40 and 41,” he highlighted. Of course, users will notice a number of changes to this effect. “As from the next VAT period, the relative VAT form returns for all companies and business operators that employ 10 or more people must be submitted using the online services.”
For instance, Registered Persons– people who are registered with the Office of the Commissioner for Revenue – are currently used to receiving their VAT return in the post, which used to serve as a regular reminder. “With the VAT return through the post being phased out, the Office needed a communication channel with taxpayers to replace that, so we came up with the idea of introducing ‘My Account’.” As a result, when users access their My Account page using their e-ID, they will be able to provide some important information, such as their mobile phone number and email address. “Once we have that information we will be able to communicate and remind tax-payers when their VAT form is due,” Mr Buhagiar continued.
Beyond that, Mr Buhagiar also explained that VAT return filing can be delegated to other people on behalf of the Registered Person, such as tax practitioners, people working within the company on accounts, or others. “Firstly, delegated people should submit the respective form to the Department and, after gaining approval, can begin to submit the respective VAT re-turn online. Obtaining approval does not limit the user to submitting just the VAT return but paves the way for them to access the whole suite of online VAT services,” he said. Finally, asked if there is any advice he can offer users who might be concerned about the changes and what they need to do in the months ahead, Mr Buhagiar underlined the importance for businesses to get CFR approval and to get registered for the submission of the VAT return as soon as possible. “Registered Persons that need clarifications and explanations about the online services can phone the Department on 144, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit BusinessFirst in Mriehel, where our staff have been trained to help."
This article originally appeared in The Malta Business Observer