Business Irish

Saturday 19 October 2019

Revenue rule making it easy for border smugglers, accountants claim

Fears: ACCA claims rules will make it easier to smuggle across the border
Fears: ACCA claims rules will make it easier to smuggle across the border
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Revenue practices will make it easier for cross-border smugglers to operate if there is a hard Brexit, according to accountancy group ACCA Ireland.

And the group has even accused Revenue of acting unlawfully in the way it issues tax adviser numbers (TAINs), saying that it is faciliating "large numbers of unqualified people providing accounting, tax and customs advice to businesses".

Revenue strongly refuted the suggestion that it is breaking the law.

"Revenue has no legal role or authority in respect of the regulation of the accounting profession or those providing advice as tax agents," a spokesperson said.

"The engagement of an agent or adviser to assist in the management of tax issues is a matter for each taxpayer to consider and to satisfy oneself as to the credentials of that individual.

"The provision of a TAIN number is simply an administrative facility that allows the nominated representative to engage with Revenue and to receive copies of relevant correspondence and notifications in an efficient manner. The TAIN is only issued on foot of a specific written instruction from the individual taxpayer."

ACCA Ireland, a body for chartered certified accountants, said its interpretation of the law was that unqualified accountants were supposed to be supervised for anti-money laundering by the Irish Government and that Revenue was breaching the rules in giving them TAINs. It said this opened a loophole for smugglers to operate more easily in the context of Brexit.

Separately Revenue figures show that the number of firms seeking "authorised economic operator" status has soared. The status will make it cross-border trade easier after Brexit.

Irish Independent

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