Revenue targets classified ads in crackdown on 'black economy'
A MAJOR tax evasion crackdown will be launched with the Revenue Commissioners targeting sectors from beauty services to education grinds and casual work.
Tax inspectors will now be monitoring classified service adverts, internet notices and even business premises to verify tax compliance across a range of sectors.
Many of the suspected 'black economy' operations in question are home-operated.
The move came amid concerns an estimated €7bn in tax revenues is missed by the State through tax loopholes, under-declaration and tax evasion.
Revenue's 'get-tough' approach follows the Government's determination to ensure tax income remains stable despite the fact the economy has slipped back into recession.
Tax evaders were also warned that the courts were taking a hardline approach with a 38pc hike in the number of people jailed for tax offences in 2012 compared to 2008. A total of 19 people were jailed last year for serious tax evasion while almost 160 cases are being processed by the courts.
Tax bosses are satisfied that major progress has been made against serious tax offenders over recent years.
However, inspectors are now to focus on 'softer', smaller-scale targets including sectors where under- or non-declaration of income has been identified as a persistent concern.
These include education grinds, beauty services, casual labour and child-minding.
In cases of concern, Revenue Commissioners will either monitor the business transacted or pose as customers to verify tax compliance.
In a number of cases, Revenue Commissioners will also work with the Department of Social Protection's special investigation unit. In January, almost 700 welfare prosecutions were being pursued.
The Tax Justice Network estimated that Ireland annually loses some €7.6bn through tax evasion.
In 2012, the Revenue Commissioners secured 50 convictions for major tax evasion, the highest figure achieved for almost 15 years.