Thursday 17 April 2014

Taxing times ahead - for all

THE Revenue Commissioners are preparing to cast the net even wider in efforts to catch people who are cheating on their taxes.

In January, the tax officials will do some serious study of the property tax returns and compare them against their data for income tax, PRSI returns as well as social welfare claims. It will be an all-out effort to spot inconsistencies and they believe it will flush out some tax cheats and increase the rate of compliance.

Like most things to do with taxation, this is not the most pleasant of prospects. It will worry those who have either wilfully given wrong information, or who may have made a mistake.

But you cannot argue against it. For too long our administration has been inconsistent with the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. There will never be proper taxation reform if everybody is not paying their fair share in accordance with the law.

However, while the Revenue Commissioners are completely correct to argue that everybody must obey the law, they must also tread carefully here.

The Revenue chairwoman, Josephine Feehily, recently admitted to the Oireachtas finance committee that the property tax was the biggest extension of self-assessment in the State's history.

The transition has been difficult for people. So it is part of the Revenue's duty to behave with understanding and compassion towards people in this matter.

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