Thursday 29 September 2016

Abtran paid €11.7m since 2013 for property tax call centre

Gordon Deegan

Published 09/08/2016 | 02:30

Abtran received fees of €11.7m
Abtran received fees of €11.7m

The outsourcing firm Abtran, which operates the helpline for the State's Local Property Tax (LPT), has received fees of €11.7m (including VAT) since March of 2013 from the Revenue Commissioners.

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This follows new figures from Revenue showing that Abtran received €1.14m from Revenue for providing the helpline service for the first six months of this year.

This comes after Revenue paid fees of €2.38m to the Cork headquartered firm last year and €4.65m in 2014.

Abtran started with just six people in 1997. It went on to secure the contract to operate the call centre for Irish Water in 2013, and today it has grown to employ some 2,000 workers.

The firm has an extensive client base across the public and private sectors which includes the Road Safety Authority, the Health Service Executive, Aviva, and Sky.

The latest figures provided by the Revenue Commissioners show that in the second quarter of 2016, it paid Abtran €645,830, and this followed fees paid of €501,380 in the first quarter.

Outsourced

The LPT has been the greatest change to the taxation system since the introduction of the self-assessment for the self-employed.

The move by Revenue to outsource the work to Abtran has been criticised by the union representing workers at the Revenue Commissioners, the Civil and Public Service Union (CPSU).

The union claims that its members could administer the LPT for less than half the amount that is being paid to Abtran.

However, Revenue has countered that its existing systems could not have supported such demand without the option of outsourcing.

Revenue has also stated that the contract for on-call services was a response to the unpredictability of the demand from clients, which has turned out to be extremely high.

Revenue has also argued that the on-call service would not have been outsourced if the service could have been managed within Revenue's capacity and resources.

The most recent statistics for the LPT show that the 2016 compliance rate is estimated to be 95pc.

Irish Independent

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