More than half a billion euro in taxes was collected from 571 of the State's wealthiest people last year. High-wealth individuals – who are defined as those with net assets of more than €50 million – paid a total of €504,299,018 to the Revenue Commissioners during 2016, according to data released by the Department of Finance.
The tax affairs of these individuals and their associated investment entities are overseen by a dedicated section of the Revenue Commissioners based in its large cases division, which has a staff of about 250.
The €500 million collected last year represents a substantial increase on the €168,715,245 that was collected from high-net worth individuals in 2015.
However, this is partially attributable to a review of the case base in the large cases division, which resulted in individuals who no longer met the criteria being moved out of the division.
The 2016 figure also included a number of settlements made following a clampdown by Revenue on tax avoidance schemes used by businesses and individuals.
The figures were revealed by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan in response to a parliamentary question from Labour TD Joan Burton.
“In early 2015, the large cases division undertook a case base review of its high-net worth individuals and, as a result of this review, individuals who no longer met the criteria were moved out of the division and other individuals who now qualify as a high-net worth individuals were moved into the large cases division,” Mr Noonan said.
“The 2016 amount includes a number of particularly large tax payments by a small number of taxpayers.”
Mr Noonan also revealed that more than 22,000 individual taxpayers declared themselves to be non-resident for tax purposes in 2015. This allows individuals to avoid paying tax on worldwide income in the State, leaving them liable to pay tax only on what they earn in Ireland.
Revenue’s large cases division currently manages 571 high-net worth individuals, together with 697 associated investment entities. Family members of these individuals, whose net assets amount to less than €50 million, may also be included in the case base.
Non-resident high-net worth individuals with substantial economic interests in Ireland are also included among the 571 individuals managed by the division, which was established in 2003 as part of a major restructuring of the Revenue Commissioners.