Satisfying the tax man

Tax season is officially upon us, but fret not, back taxes can wait until next year

(photo: Stephen Wright)
March 5th, 2012 3:46 pm| by admin
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It can be a bit of a lottery when you get your annual tax return from national tax authority Skat. A blessing or curse – depending on whether you owe or not – the annual tax return gets emotions going, as people often walk a tight rope when they budget for the year.

However, if you are one of the unfortunate third of taxpayers who have money to pay back, there is good news. According to Skat official Henrik Kähler, there is a very good chance that you won’t have to pay it back until 2013.

“If you can’t pay your back taxes and the amount is less than 18,300 kroner, we collect the money through monthly payments starting in 2013," he told metroXpress newspaper. "As well as paying your taxes for income attained in 2013, every month we will take one twelfth of your back taxes from the previous year out of your wages”

If the amount owed is over 18,300 kroner, it must be repaid through the months of September, October and November of this year. It is also possible to pay smaller back tax amounts this year to avoid paying interest in the future. This can be done with the national debit card, Dankort, on Skat's website.

Historically, the release of the annual tax return is a great technical burden for Skat, contributing to the release of the returns already on Friday, three days early. By Sunday afternoon, 1.7 million people had already logged in to see their annual tax return. Kähler hopes that the system won’t be overloaded today.

“With the uncertainty associated with IT programmes, we would rather promise a bit less and then keep that promise," he said.

Manoeuvring through the tax jungle can be a formidable challenge in any language. So as the tax season begins, it can be consoling to know that there are fine resources available to those who yearn for an English interpretation. Visit skat.dk and click the English flag in the upper right corner for more detailed assistance.

Kähler also highlighted a few pointers for handling the potentially daunting task of submitting your annual tax returns.

Accurate figures: Be sure that the correct amounts have been enclosed. It is important to remember all the figures, including amounts from financial institutions, pension funds and employment.

Deductions: The taxman won’t help you out on this one. It is up to you to submit the various deductions you may have. The vast range of deductions available include deductions work-related expenses like commuting, child-related expenses like alimony, and deductions on stock losses.

Income: It is essential to declare all avenues of income. This could be anything from rent obtained through a lease, profits made from stocks, inheritance and even poker winnings. Basically, any kind of income has a good chance of being taxable.

Be prepared: One useful habit to get into is to be prepared and update the amounts as they occur in next year’s self-assessment.

Important dates: Up until March 15 it is possible to alter figures in your tax return to avoid an incorrect amount being imposed upon you. This date is also the cut-off for the payment of arrears, which is overdue debt previously accumulated that will count against any tax surplus you may be expecting. Additionally, May 1 is the deadline to make final changes to your annual tax return from the previous year.

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