News Analysis

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Nothing better to focus the mind than sound of taxman at your door

Published 06/05/2013 | 05:00

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THREATS that the taxman will conduct in-depth probes of people's financial affairs seem to have focused minds on paying the hated €100 household charge.

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The screw is turning on the household charge rebels, with thousands now doing something they've avoided for more than a year and paying their bills.

The reason is simple. A local authority chasing you for payment is one thing, but the taxman knocking on your door is quite another.

Collecting the household charge was always going to be difficult, especially for city and county councils with poor track records of collecting outstanding debts, including rent, rates, water and bin charges. But the Revenue Commissioners are experts.

There's no business or individual they won't investigate if they pop up on their radar. Sources have described the "frightening" array of weaponry Revenue have at their disposal to track down tax-dodgers.

"As a compliant taxpayer I'm delighted", one said. "If I wasn't, I'd be terrified."

On the one hand, Revenue has worked hard in recent years to portray itself as a friend to the tax-compliant, advising and giving details on how to claim back any tax that may have been overpaid.

But the taxman is also the Government's henchman – just following orders.

Last year, it completed more than 9,000 audits, yielding €359m. It has years to track down those who refuse to pay.

Revenue chairwoman Josephine Feehily has said she is confident that 97pc of liable households will pay up. That 3pc who refuse will comprise about 50,000 people. Do you want to take the risk of a taxman knocking on your door?

Irish Independent

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