eTax Clearance FAQs

  1. How do I apply for a tax clearance certificate?
  2. How do I apply for a tax clearance certificate if I am not registered in the State?
  3. I am non e-enabled, how do I apply for a tax clearance certificate?
  4. I have a paper certificate and the PSB I deal with is asking me for a TCAN. What is a TCAN?
  5. How do I access my eTax Clearance Certificate?
  6. Where is the expiry date on my certificate?
  7. Can my spouse use my TCAN?
  8. My spouse and I wish to apply, how does our tax assessment status and our tax registration affect how we apply?
  9. When applying as a company do I need to enter all my directors/shareholders?
  10. I am an unincorporated body but the application process is asking me to enter a company director?
  11. I am trying to apply for tax clearance for a company and all the directors are non-resident, how do I progress my application?
  12. I am applying for tax clearance for a partnership, what does Revenue review for that application?
  13. I am applying for a grant but my grant is not on the ‘dropdown’ list?
  14. When will my tax clearance status be re-assessed by Revenue?
  15. How do I know if, or when, my tax clearance is withdrawn (rescinded)?
  16. How does a third party such as a Public Sector Body (PSB) verify the validity of an eTax Clearance Certificate?
  17. What verification systems are available to third parties?
  18. I received an eTax Clearance certificate to verify but the tax reference number on the certificate is different to the VAT number on the supplier invoice. Is the certificate valid?

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1. How do I apply for a tax clearance certificate?

The application and processing for eTax Clearance applications is in electronic format since 1/1/16. In order to apply for tax clearance applicants must have an active tax registration, e.g. be an active PAYE customer, or have an Income Tax, Partnership or Corporation Tax registration.

In general, PAYE customers will apply through myAccount, while business customers will apply through Revenue Online Service (ROS) (although there are some exceptions to this). If you have not used these services before you can register for myAccount or for ROS.

2. How do I apply for a tax clearance certificate if I am not registered in the State?

Exceptions to applying for eTax Clearance in electronic format:-

  1. non-resident applicants who have no tax registration number in this State,
  2. un-registered voluntary bodies e.g. tidy towns committees.

can apply for eTax Clearance by completing a pdfTC1 form (PDF, 148KB). Completed TC1 forms should be returned to Office of the Collector-General, Sarsfield House, Francis Street, Limerick.

3. I am non e-enabled, how do I apply for a tax clearance certificate?

A non e-enabled person is defined as as someone without a computer , or access to one and/ or internet access.

By completing a pdfTC1 form (PDF, 148KB). Completed TC1 forms should be returned to Office of the Collector-General, Sarsfield House, Francis Street, Limerick. Non e-enabled applicants can also post or hand-deliver the application to their local tax office.

4. I have a paper certificate and the public sector body (PSB) I deal with is asking me for a TCAN. What is a TCAN?

TCAN stands for Tax Clearance Access Number. The TCAN is a part of the eTax clearance process, and is not connected with the former paper tax clearance system. Verification of eTax Clearance by Public Sector Bodies (PSBs) must now be completed in electronic format. Applicants who are issued an eTax Clearance Certificate will receive a ‘Tax Clearance Access Number’, which they must provide to the PSB or third party along with their PPSN/Reference number to enable that third party to verify their tax clearance.

There was a transition period in the first 6 months of 2016 during which paper certificates remained valid up until the expiry date noted on the certificate. Paper tax clearance certificates do not need to be electronically verified, as a hard copy with the expiry date is sufficient to prove the applicant had tax clearance until that expiry date.

Non-registered applicants issued with a paper tax clearance certificate will not get a TCAN and will continue to get a paper certificate with an expiry date.

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5. How do I access my eTax Clearance Certificate?

An eTax Clearance Certificate is stored in electronic format. You can View/Print/Save the certificate by selecting ‘Manage Tax Clearance’ from the services in ROS or myAccount. An eTax Clearance certificate shows your name, your Tax Reference Number (TRN) and your TCAN.

Holders of eTax Clearance certificates must provide the TRN and TCAN to verify tax clearance. Holders of eTax Clearance certification can print a copy of the certificate for third parties or they can save it as a pdf and email it if preferred. Alternatively the holder can print down a pdf copy and the date it was printed will appear at the bottom of the document.

6. Where is the expiry date on my certificate?

No expiry date is necessary because the e-tax clearance system checks tax compliance in ‘real-time’ and can review or withdraw (rescind) certification on that basis.

However, an eTC application will automatically expire and will have to be re-submitted every year for a grant application and every 4 years for all other applications.

7. Can my spouse use my TCAN?

No. Each individual who requires eTax Clearance must apply in their own right and obtain a separate TCAN. This includes those who are jointly assessed.

When an applicant is jointly assessed the eTax Clearance system will review both the assessable and non-assessable spouse. If both parties are compliant the applicant will be provided with an individual TCAN.

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8. My spouse and I wish to apply, how does our tax assessment status and our tax registration affect how we apply?

  • An applicant should apply for eTax Clearance on ROS if they are registered for ROS, otherwise they should apply for eTax Clearance on myAccount.
  • Spouses* are considered a connected party unless they elect Single Assessment (which is also known as 'separate treatment') as their method of assessment. [*Please read all references to 'spouse', as 'spouse/civil partner'].
  • There are three different methods of assessment for married couples/civil partners, and each will have a different effect on how tax clearance is approached.

a) Joint Assessment

Joint assessment is generally the most efficient method of taxation for a married couple/civil partners, and it is therefore the most common method of assessment. Where a couple is jointly assessed the spouse with the higher income is initially selected as the assessable spouse, unless the couple elect (see: pdf Assessable Spouse Election Form (PDF,98KB)) otherwise. The assessable spouse is the person with responsibility for filing a tax return (if required) and paying any tax liability where due.

In a joint assessment scenario, if one of the spouses has a requirement to return and file Income Tax, the assessable spouse must apply for eTax Clearance on ROS (and their spouse’s tax records are checked as part of their application as a connected party). The non-assessable spouse must apply for eTax Clearance on myAccount (and similarly their spouse’s tax records are checked as part of their application as a connected party).

If neither spouse has a requirement to return and file Income Tax e.g. both spouses are PAYE employees only, then both spouses apply for eTax Clearance on myAccount, and both spouses are connected parties of each other.

b) Separate Assessment

Under this method of assessment each spouse's tax affairs are treated independently of each other. The legislation (Section 1023 (2) of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997) provides for an end-year balancing mechanism such that any balancing relief or rate band not allocated in the separate assessment is available to be applied to the other spouse; so spouses can benefit from the credits/bands not used by the other spouse.

If either spouse is registered for Income Tax, they should apply for eTax Clearance on ROS. If neither spouse is registered for Income Tax they should apply for eTax Clearance via myAccount. In each case, their spouse's records are checked as part of the application as a connected party.

c) Single Assessment (also referred to as Separate Treatment)

Under this method of assessment, each spouse is treated as single individuals. Any unused tax credits, or unused lower tax bands may not be transferred between spouses to reduce their aggregate tax liability.

If either spouse is registered for Income Tax, they apply for eTax Clearance via ROS. If neither spouse is registered for Income Tax they apply for eTax Clearance via MyAccount. In each case, the spouses’ records are not checked as part of the application as spouses whose tax affairs are not interconnected are not considered a connected party.

Please see the following example:

A couple elected for joint assessment and both spouses are PAYE workers. The non-assessable spouse rents a property to a tenant under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme (i.e. the Local Authority is paying the non-assessable spouse directly), the amount of rental income is in excess of €5,000 (the limit for net non-PAYE income before being deemed a ‘chargeable person’) and the non-assessable spouse is the sole landlord of the property.

In the HAP scheme the Local Authority is required to verify the eTax Clearance certificate of the non-assessable spouse, so the non-assessable spouse is required to provide tax clearance.

The assessable spouse is required to be registered for Income Tax and return the non-assessable spouse's rental income on the joint Form 11 each year. The assessable spouse will be registered for ROS; and should the assessable spouse need eTax Clearance s/he should apply for it on ROS. The non-assessable spouse will apply for eTax Clearance on myAccount. As noted above for joint assessment, both spouses are considered connected parties and will have their tax records checked when either spouse applies for eTax Clearance.

(A note on registrations: in this example the non-assessable spouse will also need to be registered for Income Tax. This is recommended because it will ensure that their non-PAYE income is capable of being recorded for PRSI contributory purposes on their record, and because it will be their assessable spouse who will be filing and returning on their behalf. The registration can be ceased subsequently, however, having an income tax registration on record ensures that any PRSI contribution on the non-PAYE income is correctly recorded on the non-assessable spouse’s record.)

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9. When applying as a company do I need to enter all my directors/shareholders?

Companies applying for a TCC must provide at least one director during the application process. Any director and shareholder who owns more than 50% of the shareholding of a company is considered to be a ‘connected party’ and will be assessed for tax clearance as part of the company’s application process.

10. I am an unincorporated body but the application process is asking me to enter a company director?

This situation can occur where the unincorporated body was incorrectly registered as a company You should contact your local Tax District to have the case record amended thereby reflecting your organisation is an unincorporated body. Once the record has been amended, the tax clearance application system will not seek information on directors, etc.

11. I am trying to apply for tax clearance for a company and all the directors are non-resident, how do I progress my application?

Where the applicant is a company, the details of at least one director are required prior to the application being accepted. There is an option to enter a non-resident director without requiring an Irish format PPSN.

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12. I am applying for tax clearance for a partnership, what does Revenue review for that application?

If the applicant is a partnership, then the application is assessed on the basis of the partnership and the connected parties to that partnership (which includes the individual partners, etc.)

If the applicant is an individual partner, then the clearance application is assessed on the basis of that individual partner and his/her connected parties which will include the partnership (for the period s/he was connected to the partnership)

If everything is in order from a tax compliance perspective then tax clearance is issued. If a partnership is refused a tax clearance certificate and the refusal is due to a connected party, then that connected party is referenced in the refusal reasons. However, the detail of why tax clearance is refused for that partner is not specified.

13. I am applying for a grant but my grant is not on the ‘dropdown’ list?

You should select the ‘Grant Other’ option from the dropdown menu and provide the details of the particular in the free text box.

14. When will my tax clearance status be re-assessed by Revenue?

The eTax Clearance system automatically re-assesses tax clearance holders on a regular basis. Revenue officials may also carry out reassessments at any time as a part of our tax compliance programmes.

15. How do I know if, or when, my tax clearance is withdrawn (rescinded)?

If your tax clearance is withdrawn (rescinded), an electronic notice is issued to you informing you of the change in your status and the reasons for it. The notice will be sent to either your ROS inbox or your MyEnquiries inbox (in myAccount) depending on how you originally applied for tax clearance. Additionally, you will be sent an email to advise you that a notice has been sent to your ROS or MyEnquiries inbox.

If an agent applied for tax clearance on your behalf then the notice and email will be sent to his/her ROS inbox.

16. How does a third party such as a Public service Body (PSB) verify the validity of an eTax Clearance Certificate?

Third parties will use the ‘Tax Reference Number’ and the ‘Tax Clearance Access Number’ of a Contractor, Supplier, Grant Applicant to access the eTax Clearance verification system. The ‘Tax Reference Number’ and the ‘Tax Clearance Access Number’ are provided to the third party by the tax clearance holder.

17. What verification systems are available to third parties?

The verification of eTax Clearance is an electronic process and Revenue has provided two separate verification systems to facilitate the checking third parties. These are:

  1. a verification system on ROS allows third parties to verify a single case or a list of cases by uploading/downloading a bulk file; and
  2. a webservice provided on the Government networks, which PSBs can use to create an automated verification process that links directly into their respective payments systems.

The File Specification document for the ROS bulk upload/download is available at: pdf Electronic Tax Clearance Verification (PDF, 340KB), and the File Specification for the Webservice is available: pdf File Specification for the Web Service (PDF, 317KB)

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18. I received an eTax Clearance certificate to verify but the tax reference number on the certificate is different to the VAT number on the supplier invoice. Is the certificate valid?

Yes. eTax Clearance certificates are issued for the Tax Reference Number. Some cases on the Revenue record have ‘old style VAT numbers’, which are not formatted correctly for eTax Clearance. The ‘old style VAT numbers’ remain valid however and suppliers, contractors, etc. are not required to change their invoicing systems or VAT number.

A third party can verify that the VAT number on the invoice is valid for the particular contractor/supplier, contractor via the Europa websiteExternal link.

July 2016

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