Revenue gets 218,000 property tax returns ahead of deadline

Agency says it has reached its target of issuing letters in respect of over 1.6 million properties


The Revenue Comissioners have received more than 218,000 local property tax returns with five weeks to go until the online filing deadline.

In its annual report published today, it said that when it started preparing to collect the tax there was neither a complete register of residential properties or a system of valuing homes in place.

It said this meant collecting the tax was a “huge challenge” because Revenue had drawn up a list of homeowners from multiple sources which had led to some errors.

Revenue said the tax was easy to pay but difficult to avoid and reminded property owners that they are liable for local property tax even if Revenue has not contacted them.

Speaking at the launch of the report, the chairman of the Revenue Commissioners, Josephine Feehily, said she was “pleased’’ to report that Revenue had reached its target of issuing letters in respect of over 1.6 million properties for local property tax.

The Revenue Commissioners expect to collect an additional €65 million in tax from retired people. It follows a campaign last year to ensure that those in receipt of a private pension also declared if they had a State pension.

The 2012 report found that 30,000 people who had a private pension , never reported their State pension to Revenue.

The Revenue comissioners received data from the Department of Social Protection at the end of 2011 which saw them writing to 150,000 pensioners.

On the basis of P35 infomation processed, about €65 million in additional tax was collected in 2012 from cases contacted, with €1 million refunded to pensioners who paid too much tax.

Ms Feehily admitted their approach caused “upset to some people” but that the amount of tax arising from discrepancies was of “significance to the Exchequer.”

Last year, Revenue collected €36.7 billion in tax, an increase of 7 per cent from the 2011 total. Last year, its audit activity raised €359 million following 9,066 interventions.

One million litres of illegally laundered fuel was sezed while almost 100 million illegal cigarettes valued at €45 million were also seized.

A particular focus was put on fuel laundering in 2012. Eleven oil laundering plants were dismantled and between 2011 and 2012, 89 retail outlets trading in fuel in breach of licensing requirements were closed down.

An investigation into the use of offshore accounts and structures as a means of evading tax brought in over €18 million, bringing the total yield to €1.1 billion in tax, interest and penalties.

Three High Court orders were obtained in 2012 requiring the delivery of information and documentation relating to transfers of offshore funds.

The report found that the administrative burden on businesses was reduced by 25 per cent up to the end of 2012, saving over €85 million per year for businesses.

For the sixth year running, Ireland was ranked the easiest country in the EU in which to pay business taxes according to a report by the World Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The annual report said that the cost of running Revenue fell by €10.4 million last year.

Since 2008, annual running costs were reduced by over €103 million.

Ms Feehily said debt available for collection was just under €1.2 billion, down 10.4 per cent from 2011. She added that the continuing trend in decreasing levels of debt available for collection is “very encouraging.”