Outsourcing firm Abtran receives nearly €2m in fees from Revenue

Firm operates helpline for State’s local property tax

Since March 2013, Abtran has received fees totalling €16.3 million for the operation of the local property tax helpline. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Since March 2013, Abtran has received fees totalling €16.3 million for the operation of the local property tax helpline. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

The outsourcing firm Abtran, which operates the helpline for the State’s local property tax (LPT), last year received fees from the Revenue Commissioners of €1.94 million.

New figures provided by Revenue show that since March 2013 the Cork-headquartered firm has received fees totalling €16.3 million for the operation of the LPT helpline.

The €1.94 million paid last year follows the same amount paid out in 2017 to the firm.

Abtran provides customer and business process management services. It employs more than 2,000 people in Cork and Dublin.

The Revenue figures show that in the last quarter of 2018, Revenue paid €554,731 to Abtran and this followed a payout of €333,303 in the third quarter.

Last year, the Revenue Commissioners took €482 million in LPT on behalf of the State – a compliance rate of 97 per cent.

The decision to outsource the LPT work has been criticised by the Civil and Public Service Union – now part of the larger Forsa union.

However, Revenue has pointed out that dealing with the volume of calls relating to the LPT and the timing of peaks and troughs in demand, “is beyond Revenue’s internal capacity”.

Revenue states that the service provided by the external service provider “greatly assists in the provision of a flexible, responsive and scalable solution”.

Revenue also points out that despite the exceptional temporary pressures and demands for LPT telephone service, the results “have been very positive and Revenue is satisfied that the engagement of an external call service support provider is appropriate for this purpose”.

Abtran, in a joint venture with international road operator Vinci Highways, was recently awarded the contract to operate the toll system on the M50 motorway that skirts Dublin by State agency Transport Infrastructure Ireland. The joint venture will operate under the name Turas Mobility Services and the contract could be worth €373 million to Turas over 15 years.

The agreement between the joint venture and the State body initially runs to 2031, but TII has the discretion to extend it to 15 years.