Tuesday 25 June 2019

Five tax cases account for €2.5bn of disputed claims - Donohoe

Tax battle: Of the 10 highest-value appeals before the TAC, two appeals with a combined value of €1.67bn are currently stayed by court order. Stock Image
Tax battle: Of the 10 highest-value appeals before the TAC, two appeals with a combined value of €1.67bn are currently stayed by court order. Stock Image

Gordon Deegan

The Tax Appeals Commission (TAC) is currently dealing with 3,585 appeals concerning a disputed total of €3.7bn in tax.

That is according to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, who has confirmed that he has sanctioned a doubling of the TAC's budget for 2019 in response to the commission's increasing workload.

Mr Donohoe said that of the €3.7bn, €2.5bn is related to 10 appeals, five of which were received by the TAC in the last week of December 2018.

In a written Dáil reply to Fianna Fáil's Sean Fleming, Mr Donohoe said: "Some appeals before the TAC cannot be progressed when the commission has to await the outcome of court proceedings.

He said: "For example, a stay may have been placed on the progression of the appeals by the TAC by Order of the High Court, Court of Appeal or Supreme Court.

"Of the 10 highest-value appeals before the TAC, two appeals with a combined value of €1.67bn are currently stayed by Court Order and cannot be progressed by the TAC until the stays are lifted."

The cases are likely to include the €1.6bn claim made by Revenue on the drug company Perrigo.

The company appealed the finding last December. Mr Donohoe said: "In view of the growing backlog of appeals, I commissioned an independent review of the workload and operations of the TAC in 2018."

He stated that in line with the review's recommendations: "I sanctioned the doubling of the TAC's annual budget in 2019, to allow for additional staffing resources at all levels and additional funding for improved ICT systems,"

He said: "In June 2018 the TAC moved to a new, larger premises that allows for the scheduling of simultaneous hearings, to ensure greater and more efficient use of commissioners' time. This is resulting in a reduction in the time parties have to wait for their appeal to be heard."

He added: "In addition, a Public Appointments Service competition for the recruitment of Temporary Appeal Commissioners was completed recently and appointments from the resulting panel are expected shortly." Legislation is also in progress to create the role of chairperson of the TAC, as per a recommendation of the independent review

Mr Donohoe said: "With the substantial increase in resources at the TAC, I expect the overall number of appeals and the quantum of tax under appeal with the TAC to begin to decrease steadily over the coming year."

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