Background to ROS
As one of the largest processors of information in Ireland, Revenue commits significant resources to inputting the information received from our customers onto our computer systems. We also devote extensive resources to providing information over the counter, by phone, fax, letter and e-mail to tax practitioners, accountants, businesses and individual customers which, in turn, uses up resources and manpower which could be made available for the provision of other Customer Services.
Much of the information we receive is on paper and has, in many instances, been prepared and stored on computer before it is submitted to us. Furthermore, the costs, delays and frustration experienced by you, our customers, as a result of the preparation and processing of paper returns have been identified by us as critical issues to be addressed to reduce your compliance costs and improve our customer service to you.
One of the strategies which we have put in place to achieve this improvement is to encourage the electronic filing of returns and declarations and other electronic information exchange. This is part of a much wider initiative to encourage electronic business and the development of the infrastructure in Ireland for Internet trading. It is against this background that Revenue launched ROS, which will play a major role in delivering electronic Government services.
The Programme for Customer Service in our Statement of Strategy 1997-1999 states that its objective is "to further develop customer service by making it as easy as possible for all of our customers to deal with Revenue". One way to achieve this is to 'encourage electronic filing of Returns and Declarations and other electronic information exchange'. A Strategy Manager has been appointed with responsibility for developing our electronic business strategy and encouraging electronic filing. This development, the Revenue On-Line Service (ROS), allows our customers transact their business with us electronically. Notwithstanding other potential demands on its resources, Revenue is committed to providing the resources necessary to ensure that ROS becomes a central part of its filing, payment and information services over the next number of years.
While paper returns, of course, are still acceptable, the objective is to provide a range of choices to customers for filing returns.
Of primary importance to the development of ROS is the access by agents to their clients tax files. We provide practitioners with the following facilities:
- Access to their taxpayer clients payments, balances, returns compliance and payments compliance information on Revenue's database
- Facility to change the taxpayer's 'agent representation' details on Revenue's files for existing clients only. Revenue will continue to have responsibility for adding new clients
- Facility to allocate and maintain access security within their firm.
Over time, these types of facilities are being extended to cover a wider range of taxes and duties.
Advantages of Electronic Filing for Customers
In addition to allowing access to customers Revenue accounts, ROS provides the following benefits for practitioners and other customers:
- Avoidance of duplication of effort and substantially reduce compliance costs
- Reduction in paper handling, photocopying and compliance costs
- More effective and efficient use of time
- More accurate processing of returns
- Access to your own Revenue account from your own PC
- 24 hour, 365 day access to Revenue
- Calculation facilities to assist customers
- Instant acknowledgement of returns
- Faster processing of returns and payments
- Speedier repayments