TDs to question Revenue over unpaid €2.3bn tax debt

Tax Appeals Commission faces PAC questioning for first time since it was set up in 2016

PAC chairman Sean Fleming TD: “It is important that we find out their reasons for why payment agreements had not been concluded or enforcement proceedings commenced.” Photograph:    Gareth Chaney Collins

PAC chairman Sean Fleming TD: “It is important that we find out their reasons for why payment agreements had not been concluded or enforcement proceedings commenced.” Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

TDs will quiz Revenue officials on Thursday about the €2.3 billion in unpaid tax debt due to the exchequer at the end of March last year.

Government financial watchdog, the Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG) reported recently that the total amount of tax owed to the State was on March 31st last year was €2.29 billion.

Revenue officials face questions on aspects of this at the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday in Leinster House.

The C&AG found that Revenue had not reached payment agreements or begun enforcement proceedings in relation to €661 million, one quarter of the total amount that could be collected.

Committee chairman, Seán Fleming TD, said members would ask Revenue about this, particularly in light of the fact that €271 million of that debt was due for more than one year.

Backlog

“It is important that we find out their reasons for why payment agreements had not been concluded or enforcement proceedings commenced,” Mr Fleming said.

The committee will also interview officials from the Tax Appeals Commission, the statutory body set up in 2016 to handle tax disputes, about its backlog of cases and the amount of tax involved.

The C&AG found that at the end of March 2017, about €1.1 billion of the total tax debt was subject to appeal, that is, the taxpayers involved were challenging amounts found to be due from them.

Thursday’s hearing will be the first time that the committee members question officials from the appeals body as it began its work in 2016.

Spending

Mr Fleming said that members were most likely to be interested in the backlog and outstanding amounts due.

Both the session with the Tax Appeals Commission and with Revenue result from the comptroller’s annual report.

This deals with how all Government departments manage their cash and maintain proper checks and balances on spending.

The PAC questions representatives from all departments about the C&AG’s findings.