Irish News

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Revenue spent €24k on gifts for foreign officials and experts

Philip Ryan

Published 23/05/2014 | 02:30

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The Revenue Commissioners
The Revenue Commissioners

THE Revenue Commissioners spent thousands of euros on gifts for international tax officials and economic experts.

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The Irish Independent can reveal Revenue splashed out more than €24,000 on crystal bowls, engraved silver bookmarks and custom plaques for their counterparts in other countries.

The revelation is sure to annoy cash-strapped homeowners forced to cough up hundreds of euros in property tax.

Revenue is deducting the property tax from pay packets and has warned it will pursue those who failed to pay the household charge through the courts.

Meanwhile, figures released by Revenue showed it forked out €24,580 over four years on corporate gifts for delegates at high-level international tax and customs meetings.

Gifts were also bought for economic experts who held workshops for Revenue officials free of charge.

Last year, €2,115 was spent on silver engraved bookmarks and €1,752 was spent on chocolates for bureaucrats attending European Union Presidency events hosted by Revenue in Dublin.

More than €5,400 was spent on pen sets two years ago and €80 was paid for two crystal bowls.

In 2009, custom designed plaques set the taxpayer back €6,063 while €1,450 was spent on business card holders. Other gifts include crystal coasters, ogham plaques and shamrock crystal pieces.

A Revenue spokeswoman said it was "customary" for tax officials to exchange gifts as "gestures of goodwill and/or as a thank you for sharing their time and expertise on issues of relevance".

Appropriate

"Small gifts are also given as tokens of appreciation to experts for presenting at Revenue workshops or training seminars free of charge," she added.

"Where appropriate, such gifts are also given to attendees at high-level international conferences hosted by Revenue.

"It is in this context that the small gifts outlined were purchased."

Irish Independent

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