Farm Ireland

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Farmers amongst worst tax defaulters in the country, Revenue figures show

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

Farmers account for the third highest number of tax defaulters, according to an analysis of figures from the Revenue Commissioners.

The analysis looked at details of 2,200 cases published by Revenue from January 2012 to September 2017. The taxman names and shames the individuals or companies in the tax defaulters' list every three months.

The list includes every case where a settlement with an individual or company was made, above a threshold of €35,000.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of the names who have appeared on the lists are the self-employed and companies - both of whom have to file their taxes outside the PAYE system.

The worst single category among those caught was people who described themselves in at least part of their occupation as "company director", who made up 11pc of cases.

The next biggest grouping was drawn from those who listed an occupation in the construction industry (7pc) or farming (6pc).

Irish Farmers' Association spokesman Martin Stapleton attributes the sector's prominence to the fact there are 100,000 farmers in Ireland.

"The IFA would have no sympathy for those who deliberately try to avoid their tax," said Mr Stapleton, who is chairman of the IFA's farm business committee.

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"But we would have some concern that some people, through no fault of their own, have accounts submitted that aren't accurate and because of that find themselves in a position whereby they're not paying the full amount of tax."

Donegal has the highest rate of tax defaulters in Ireland over the past five years.

However, the rate in Donegal of 83 defaulters per 100,000 population is closely followed by Wexford at a rate of 81 and Westmeath at 79. The average for the 26 counties is 51.

The taxman has recovered more than €450m over the five-year period from the defaulters, which includes dozens of cases from outside the Republic of Ireland, including Northern Ireland, England, Portugal, Liechtenstein, the United States and Switzerland.

However, these 2,200 cases are just the tip of the iceberg, with a Revenue spokesperson explaining it carries out thousands of investigations every month resulting in settlements below the threshold of €35,000.

Waterford has the lowest rate at 34 per 100,000, with Clare on 35.

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