Using the new Statement of Affairs
18 September 2020
Well I have just completed my first Statement of Affairs as I saw that the system went live during the week and my first impression is that it’s a good system. Access is on the front page of ROS. It’s easy to use, keying in information is fluid and there doesn’t seem to be too many hard stops (that is core information you must have 100% correct before you can move on).
Some reflections from my use.
1. I filled out my SOA from a CA24 that I had ready to go. Not a particularly large estate. House, bank accounts etc. Usual stuff. All in all it took 1.5 hours to complete. I am sure that this could be cut down.
2. All the information flowed very intuitively and there was no major stumbling blocks that I could see. It all followed the CA24 pretty verbatim.
3. Some newbies in the system:-
- You must insert the mobile and email of the executors on the executor signing page;
- As I mentioned before, the threshold is now down to €12,000 per beneficiary and this is made loud and clear on the form;
- You need dates of birth of beneficiaries (something I wasn’t collecting up to now);
- The form also requires you to submit IBANs of bank accounts;
- It also prompts for charity numbers for charities.
4. Having said that. I didn’t have some of the information but I was able to put in dummy information and move on.
5. The big issue of course is how is the information sworn. There is a declaration at the end of the form confirming that the information submitted is the information of the applicant and not the person actually doing the submission (the agent). I have reproduced the form of the declaration below. One can generate a printout of the SOA and in my case I was able to print the form to PDF and I have inserted a signing box on the PDF for my executor clients to physically sign. An email confirmation from your executor clients may also suffice as authority. I am not going to submit obviously without authority.
6. The basis of this authority is set out in the new SI, which implements the form. I attach a link to the SI below. (S.I. No. 341/2020 – Capital Acquisitions Tax (Electronic Probate) Regulations 2020).
7. There is a good save as you go system on the form. This should be used because I did complete the details of my beneficiaries and did not save properly and lost the information. So use the “Save and Close” function and you can go back in. There doesn’t seem to be a “Save” button per se. Just a “Save a Close” function which is a bit of a pain as you have to go back in to pick up again. Although when you press the “Edit” button it brings you back to where you left off, which is good.
8. I pressed the return button at one stage and got an error message but I did not lose my information.
9. It is my practice to put the CA24 first up on a spreadsheet before completing the CA24 so I can double check the figures and I think I will continue this practice, so I understand how the Revenue get the net benefit for the beneficiaries. So in my case, US assets were excluded (which is obviously correct). The net estate was what the beneficiaries were deemed to received and not the gross estate. However, I had an HSE charge, but this was not factored in to the net amount received by the beneficiaries. So it is good to have a chance to compare and contrast.
10. While there is a box for funeral expenses, there is no set box for wake expenses. However, there is a “free text” method to put these in, if you wish.
11. Overall, I think its going to make life easier and it is handy that it automatically calculates the benefit for the beneficiaries and tots the estate. Its easy to use. I can see it quickening up estates. I’d love to hear your experiences over the coming weeks. I know there are probate geeks out there who are actually excited by the new change. Don’t be shy!