Revenue battle against tax evasion yields €555m

Tax authority says evaders can expect ‘robust response’ in 2017

The number of instalment arrangements agreed with the Revenue for the payment of owed tax increased from 8,494 in 2015 to 10,886 last year

The number of instalment arrangements agreed with the Revenue for the payment of owed tax increased from 8,494 in 2015 to 10,886 last year

 

Efforts by the Revenue Commissioners to ensure compliance with tax law yielded €555 million for the exchequer in 2016, a year that saw 17 criminal convictions for serious tax and duty offences.

The Revenue, which collected a record €47.9 billion in total last year, completed 537,183 “compliance interventions” as it sought to tackle tax evasion, its headline figures show.

There were 1,672 summary convictions, down 19 per cent on 2015, while the number of criminal convictions for evasion and fraud is also down on the previous year, when there were 27.

A total of €5.1 million was imposed in fines as a result of the 2016 convictions.

Some 372 settlements were also published on the tax defaulters’ list during the year. Including interest and penalties, these had a value of €71.5 million.

Revenue chairman Niall Cody said timely voluntary compliance remained “strong”, and that the extension of its electronic service channels made compliance easier and less costly.

“Taxpayer behaviour determines the nature and potential severity of our intervention,” Mr Cody said. “Those who engage in evasion can expect a robust response from Revenue, where we will seek to apply the full legal sanctions available.”

The Revenue, which employs almost 6,000, had running costs of €396.8 million in 2016.

Drugs seized

Its officials seized drugs, cigarettes and tobacco with a value of €70.5 million last year. This included 941kg of cannabis with a value of €15.4 million, and 172kg of cocaine and heroin with a value of €12 million.

However the highest value of seizures came from cigarettes. The Revenue seized some 44 million cigarettes – down from 68 million – with a value of €23.4 million.

It also shut down nine oil stations and seized 143 vehicles as part of its efforts to tackle fuel laundering.

The Revenue received almost 2.3 million calls via its 1890 telephone number during 2016, and a further 1.6 million written communications. There were almost 5.7 million electronic returns, about 2 million electronic payments and 939,319 electronic self-service transactions.

The number of instalment arrangements agreed with the Revenue for the payment of owed tax increased from 8,494 in 2015 to 10,886 last year.

Mr Cody also highlighted recent changes to the disclosure regime for audits. From May 1st, 2017, tax defaulters who use offshore facilities to hide income, accounts or other assets will no longer have the facility to make a voluntary disclosure.

This means that those who do not come forward before the end of April will face penalties of up to 100 per cent of the tax evaded, as well as publication in the tax defaulters’ list and potential prosecution.