Wednesday 13 December 2017

Revenue hires 100 staff in tax evasion crackdown

Michael Noonan’s Budget set out plan to target offshore accounts
Michael Noonan’s Budget set out plan to target offshore accounts
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The Revenue Commissioners has boosted the number of staff focused on audit investigations and tax evasion by 100 since the start of the year.

However, almost two-thirds of them will first have to go through a two-year training programme.

Budget 2017 set out plans by the Government to target tax cheats who stash their money overseas.

An extra €5m was set aside for the taxman to take on extra staff for audit and investigation activities, including tackling off-shore tax evasions, as well as enhancing ICT systems.

More than 100 executive officers have been recruited into Revenue's ranks since the start of 2017 - 65 of whom were moved into a comprehensive two-year training programme. The balance went into a fast-track programme as they were already suitably qualified.

"It is anticipated that these staff will commence full time audit and compliance activities from mid-2017," the now former Finance Minister Michael Noonan said recently, in response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath.

It was estimated that the extra cash brought into the State's coffers through this clampdown would be around €80m.

At the announcement of the Budget in October, Mr Noonan said the release of the so-called 'Panama Papers' earlier in the year showed how use off-shore structures and accounts helped avoid paying tax.

Mr Noonan said Revenue estimates that about 500 audit staff will retire over the next five years. There are currently about 400 new staff at various stages of training.

"It is noted that the investment in the training and development of a Revenue auditor or investigator can take up to three to four years, depending on previous relevant experience," he said.

"Revenue plans to recruit 150 executive officers per annum over the next five years with the majority of these going into audit training based on current resource provision."

Overall last year, the yield from audit and compliance investigations was €555.6m, with 6,173 audits completed, yielding €247.9m.

Other compliance interventions yielded €307.7m.

Irish Independent

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