Sunday 24 September 2017

Paying taxes should be based on rewards, not threats

Revenue humiliates defaulters but it is time to adopt a system that recognises compliance, writes James Fitzsimons

MAYBE the European Commission should take a page out of the Revenue Commissioners' book. It could allow Ireland to reach a negotiated settlement with all its bondholders, provided that details are published.

Surely it is better to have a negotiated settlement than stagnation. The Irish Revenue has a reputation at home and abroad for being effective tax collectors.

Public humiliation is part of the Revenue's method of encouraging voluntary compliance. In the first three months of 2011 the Revenue Commissioners agreed tax settlements of €106.6m. Last week they published the defaulters' list for January to March. The vast majority of names relate to fines that range from late filing of tax returns to tax fraud. The monetary amount can be surprisingly similar whatever the category. Some 424 cases had fines and penalties imposed by the courts in that period.

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