22 judges failed to pay voluntary pension levy


TWENTY-TWO of the State’s 147 judges failed to pay a voluntary pension levy last year as an equivalent to the public service pension levy, according to new Revenue figures.

A total of 125 judges paid the voluntary pension levy last year, yielding €1,246,787 in taxes.

The figures were contained in the Revenue Commissioners’ preliminary figures for 2010, released yesterday.

The voluntary pension levy for judges was introduced in May 2009 when the Government said it could not impose the pension levy applied to all other public servants because of the constitutional prohibition on reducing the remuneration of judges. Instead judges could pay a voluntary sum equivalent to the pension levy.

Defending the low take-up among judges initially in paying the voluntary levy, Chief Justice John Murray said in June 2009 that he expected there would be “strong and continuous participation” by the judiciary in the scheme.

The previous April, an agreement for a voluntary payment was drawn up after talks between the Chief Justice and Revenue chairwoman Josephine Feehily.

The Revenue figures showed that total exchequer returns reached €31.7 billion last year.

Income tax yielded €11.3 billion in 2010, VAT returns were just over €10 billion while excise and corporation taxes yielded €4.7 billion and €3.9 billion respectively.

Some €960 million was collected in stamp duty; €347 million in capital gains tax; €238 million in capital acquisitions tax; and €228 million in customs duty.

Tax compliance rates stood at 96 per cent for those who had an annual tax liability of over €500,000 while compliance among those with annual tax liabilities of between €75,000 and €500,000 stood at 94 per cent, according to the Revenue Commissioners. Compliance rates among those with smaller tax liabilities stood at 80 per cent.

Almost 466,000 audits were carried out by the Revenue Commissioners in 2010 yielding a total of €492.6 million in total.

Special investigations saw a cumulative yield of €2.65 billion last year. Over 34,000 investigations were carried out.

Revenue obtained a total of 12 convictions for serious evasion in 2010. At the year’s end the Revenue was continuing to investigate 93 cases of serious evasion of taxes and customs.

A total of 43,750 tax collection enforcements were carried out with a total yield of €241.3 million.

There were 7,414 drug seizures last year, valued at €9.2 million by Revenue.

This was broken down into 1,491 cannabis seizures with a total value of €3.3 million and 53 cocaine and heroin seizures worth €2.8 million.

While 5,870 seizures came under the category “amphetamines, ecstasy and other”, the vast majority or 5,757 seizures, related to medicinal tablets and liquid medicine accounting for €2.27 million of the €3.1 million worth of drugs seized in this category.

Over €76 million worth of cigarettes and tobacco were seized by customs in 2010 with over 10,000 separate seizures.

Revenue also recovered €1.7 million in criminal cash seizures over the course of last year representing 46 seizures, according to the figures.