Revenue audits and compliance measures yielded almost €500m in 2017

€84m raised under foreign income and assets disclosure initiative

Revenue investigations: the organisation is using “extensive information” available under new international data-sharing arrangements. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Revenue investigations: the organisation is using “extensive information” available under new international data-sharing arrangements. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Revenue collected almost €500 million following tax audits and moves to ensure tax compliance in 2017 and is pushing ahead with a major investigation of offshore tax evasion.

The organisation collected €84 million under a scheme encouraging people to declare offshore assets last year, according to its annual report, published on Wednesday. Revenue’s chairman, Niall Cody, said it is now investigating those who did not disclose such assets, using “extensive information” available under new international data-sharing arrangements.

The annual report shows that €491.9 million was raised from audit and “compliance intervention” activity last year, compared with €555.6 million in 2016. Total revenue of €196 million resulted from 5,200 tax audits. The rest of the revenue came from so-called risk-management interventions – investigations launched where Revenue identified a high chance of evasion – compliance checks and special investigations.

Revenue said the total yield from all offshore inquiries in recent years is now more than €2.9 billion, involving 39,206 cases.

Tax avoidance

Separately, the report shows Revenue taking an active approach to challenging tax avoidance, which is where tax legislation is used to try to cut a tax bill. The organisation is challenging 833 avoidance cases. In 2017, 1,352 avoidance cases were settled, 15 of which yielded settlements of €3.8 million.

The annual report says that there has been a 13 per cent reduction in the tax debt classified as outstanding and “available for collection”, to €958 million last year.

Revenue confirmed that self-assessed taxpayers filing online will have an additional two weeks to file their tax returns this year, after a deadline extension to November 14th. The pay-and-file deadline for paper returns is again October 31st.

Overall Revenue collected €50.76 billion in tax in 2017, €2.8 billion more than in 2016. A separate study published on corporation tax showed that 80 per cent comes from multinationals and that 39 per cent of tax comes from just 10 companies, up from 37 per cent in 2016. Revenue estimates that more than €158 billion of trading profits was reported by companies in 2016, up by more than 10 per cent on the previous year.

About 25,800 companies were able to use losses from 2016, totalling €14.9 billion, to claim against their taxes in 2017, at a cost of €1.9 billion to the exchequer, the report shows. A large stock of losses carried forward remains – more than €213 billion – some of which will be offset against tax in future years. The use of these losses to wipe out tax bills for banks has recently caused political controversy. The Revenue analysis shows that the financial and insurance sectors carried forward losses of €112 billion from 2016, more than half the total.