Thursday 27 October 2016

Revenue acknowledges it faces major staff challenge over coming years

Published 01/05/2016 | 02:30

Revenue Commissioners chairman Niall Cody. Photo: Tom Burke
Revenue Commissioners chairman Niall Cody. Photo: Tom Burke

Revenue is set to lose 20pc of its staff over the next five years due to the demographic profile of its workforce, the tax collectors' chairman Niall Cody has said.

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Cody said Revenue is at staffing levels last seen in 1976, with the tax code now much more complex.

"Between 1972 and 1982 was the period of recruitment into the civil service and Revenue, so probably half of our staff are 50 and over. We're just facing a demographic challenge," Cody told the Sunday Independent.

"Last year there was about 250 retirements and we're facing that over the next few years so as it looks we're going to lose probably 20pc of our staff over the next five years... we're at staffing levels that we had in 1976, and we're in a really complex environment since 1976, but we have massive investment in ICT which allows us to do a lot.

"We're losing really good, experienced people and one of the key issues is that we make sure we have the programme to capture their knowledge, for them to mentor and pass on their knowledge to people coming in."

Revenue has around 5,920 full-time equivalent staff, and recruited 407 people last year.

"I think the variety of the jobs you have in an organisation like Revenue is phenomenal, across a whole range of activity, so there's a job for nearly every skillset. We have a highly developed ICT framework, we are involved in supporting the Department of Finance in EU and OECD negotiations."

"I think if you were a 22, a 32, or a 42-year-old, and you're working in tax, law, economics, statistics, advanced psychology, this is a really interesting place to work... the public sector provides a lot of opportunity as well."

Cody said Revenue is "at the start of a journey" about using advanced analytics to tackle tax evasion in real-time.

"What we're trying to do is push out services that identify people that have to claim particular tax relief, and we tell them about it - to the other side of the coin, to identify people who maybe should be telling us a little bit more about their income, and ask the question.

"What we're increasingly trying to do is get there to prevent tax evasion arising in the first place, to try and prevent mistakes, because a lot of underpayments are actually mistakes.

"We have various real-time models on PAYE and VAT, we're looking at income consumption models where indicators that we have are not consistent with income that's declared."

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