Revenue brings in data chief to nab tax frauds
The taxman has appointed a chief analytics officer to lead its mining of taxpayer data.
Daniel Sinnott has joined the Revenue Commissioners in the newly created role of chief analytics officer, having previously held a variety of private sector consulting and analytics roles.
Because of the nature of its activities, Revenue interacts with more Irish citizens than any other State body and so has access to an unparalleled amount of citizens' data.
This is only increasing - this year the tax authority was approved to begin monitoring credit and debit cards to help determine if their owners are avoiding tax. The data is among indicators used to gauge whether a person is living beyond their disclosed means, a sign they may not be declaring all of their taxable income.
"Data analytics is increasingly at the core of forward-thinking businesses," said Revenue chairman Niall Cody earlier in 2015. "There is no reason why tax administrations should be any different."
Revenue uses data analysis to catch tax dodgers in several different ways.
Much of the data it collects is fed into its Risk Evaluation Analysis and Profiling (REAP) system. Revenue says this can accurately predict whether or not someone is potentially evading tax. The software can flag certain cases by comparing them to previous ones where tax evasion was found.
Another newly added method is something it calls Social Network Analysis.
"This approach should not be confused with Twitter or Facebook," said a spokesperson.
"This technology uses our own data and other data available to Revenue to identify links and relationships between individuals and businesses."