ROS, E-filing And iXBRL Explained

By Tracey Glacken, Glacken Accountants

iXBRL ReadyThe Revenue Online Service (ROS) has been rolled out, extended and improved over the last eight or nine years. ROS has become a very popular choice of filing for both practitioners and businesses and each year brings a significant increase in the number of users. Extensions to existing deadlines are also available where the customer pays and file their returns using ROS.

What Does ROS Do?

ROS is available all year round and can be easily accessed. It allows for the filing of returns for up to 21 different business taxes and duties.  Common returns to be filed online include Corporation Tax, VAT and PAYE/PRSI returns. As well as filing returns, payments and repayments can be made, details of business/personal accounts can be obtained and tax liabilities can be calculated.

How Do I Register For ROS?

There are three steps to registering for ROS:

  1. Apply for a ROS Access Number
  2. Apply for a Digital Certificate
  3. Retrieve Your Digital Certificate

Once these steps have been followed you will be allowed access to your account. The digital certificate is specific to you and users can be added to the system when required.  Further information on ROS can be obtained from


In January 2009 the Revenue started Phase One of their e-filing campaign and in June 2012 Phase Four was rolled out. A number of returns will have to be filed electronically and it is worth summarising the specific areas where electronic filing is now mandatory:

  • Self-assessed individuals claiming certain income exemptions such as artists/woodland etc.
  • Self-assessed individuals claiming retirement related reliefs or certain other exemptions such as BES, film scheme or seed capital reliefs.
  • All VAT registered entities.

Certain hardship cases may be excluded from this mandatory filing requirement where a taxpayer does not have the capacity to file electronically. Capacity in this context would include a lack of broadband access, old age or infirmity which would affect their ability to pay and file taxes on an electronic basis.


Payments for taxes can be made by setting up a Revenue Debit Instruction. An Irish bank account must be held by the customer in order to arrange this. Payments are now also accepted by VISA/Mastercard.

What is iXBRL?

iXBRL is Extensible Business Reporting Language and is the presentation of financial information in computer readable format. From November 2012 Corporation Tax payers will be able to upload their Financial Statements in this format. This will eventually become mandatory in late 2013.  For Income Tax payers the option will be available to them from January 2013.

For users this will mean that the accounts menu in the Form CT1 on ROS will no longer have to be completed.

A free roadshow is being  held around the country during September to advise tax filers on what is involved in filing XBRL with Revenue. Attendance must be pre-booked and further information can be obtained from

As the Revenue moves towards a full online filing system tax filers should embrace the advantages this brings to their lives including:

  • Access to personal or business Revenue account 365 days a year
  • Returns are processed quicker
  • Payments can be made online
  • Administrative work associated with completing returns manually is reduced.

Tracey Glacken

Owner at Glacken Accountants

Tracey Glacken is owner at Glacken Accountants. Glacken Accountants work with SME’s in the areas of audit, financial statements preparation, personal and company taxation, company secretarial and business planning.

Tracey is a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland and has worked for over 13 years in practice. Tracey has advised clients in many different sectors from small start-up business to medium sized companies and has extensive experience in statutory audit, financial and management reporting. See for more information.

  • Peter Hutt

    We have had a stand at the XBRL roadshow that was being run by Business Reporting Ireland that you mention above. It has been very well attended but we at Sage are happy to take on any further queries

  • Thanks Tracey for a very informative post.I think a lot of people will find the iXBRL roadshows this September very helpful. Regading e-filing, with the latest version of Sage 50 Accounts, users can produce a VAT return as an XML file and upload it to the Irish Revenue website. XML outputs from Sage 50 are available for VAT, Intrastat Arrivals, VIES and Dispatches. This saves time and minimises the risk of mistyping information.