Business Irish

Sunday 21 September 2014

Revenue may consider setting up online hall of shame for tax cheats

Published 05/01/2013 | 05:00

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UK rogues' gallery features top 2012 evaders

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MugSHOTS of Irish tax dodgers could become a feature of the internet, if tax officials here follow the latest initiative in the UK, where authorities have created an online "hall of shame" with the names and photographs of the 32 "top tax criminals of 2012".

Those who feature were sentenced to a combined total of more than 150 years' imprisonment last year for serious cases of tax evasion and alcohol and tobacco smuggling.

Legislation

The Revenue Commissioners here said there was no plan for an Irish version of the website, but that it could be considered in future, a spokeswoman told the Irish Independent.

The names and personal details of Irish tax defaulters are already published every three months, including addresses and the amounts owed.

The next list is due in March. However, legislation here does not allow for the publication of photos of tax defaulters.

That could change if the UK initiative proves a success, because Revenue Commissioners can ask the Government to change the law if they are convinced it would help them shame more people into paying up.

"If new measures are deemed necessary to counter any particular practices in this jurisdiction, they will be considered in detail before any legislative changes are sought," the spokeswoman said.

The UK's new hall of shame is the latest sign of a hardening of attitudes in relation to tax dodgers.

The website only includes details about individuals linked to illegal tax evasion, but tax avoidance by some big companies and well-off individuals has become a major political issue in the UK.

The British Prime Minister David Cameron this week called for a debate about what he called "really aggressive tax avoidance" by some businesses.

Companies such as coffee chain Starbucks and online retailer Amazon lacked "moral scruples" for minimising their UK tax bills, Mr Cameron told a business gathering in the north of England.

Irish Independent

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