Abtran paid €14.4m for running Revenue's property tax helpline
The outsourcing firm Abtran, which operates the helpline for the State's Local Property Tax (LPT) last year received fees from the Revenue Commissioners of €1.94m.
New figures provided by Revenue show that since March 2013, the Cork headquartered firm has received fees totalling €14.4m for the operation of the LPT.
The €1.94m paid last year follows the same amount paid out in 2016 and €2.38m in fees in 2015 to the Cork-headquartered firm.
Abtran started with just six people in 1997 and today is Ireland's leading provider of customer and business process management services, employing over 2,000 people in Cork and Dublin. In 2013, Abtran expanded after securing the contract with Irish Water to operate its call centre and it works with a wide range of clients across multiple sectors. The Revenue figures show that in the last quarter of 2017, Revenue paid €515,000 to Abtran and this followed a payout of €318,000 in the third quarter.
Last year, the Revenue Commissioners took €477m in LPT on behalf of the State - a compliance rate of 97pc, in line with other years. The decision to outsource the LPT work has been criticised by the Civil and Public Service Union (CPSU) - now part of the larger Fórsa union. However, a spokesman for the Revenue Commissioners said yesterday: "Revenue receives a high and variable volume of LPT calls. The volume of calls and the timing of peaks and troughs in demand, is beyond Revenue's internal capacity.
"As such, the service provided by the external service provider greatly assists in the provision of a flexible, responsive and scalable solution."
He added: "Revenue is committed to delivering an optimum customer service for LPT and other taxes, and to achieving full taxpayer compliance. Despite the exceptional temporary pressures and demands for LPT telephone service, results to date have been very positive and Revenue is satisfied that the engagement of an external call service support provider is appropriate for this purpose."