Friday 18 January 2019

Tax appeals system remains 'unacceptably broken'

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Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

The Irish tax appeals regime is "unacceptably broken" Irish Tax Institute President David Fennell told practitioners last night.

Delays mean "uncertainty, high interest rates and high stress" for blameless taxpayers, he said.

In a speech at the Irish Tax Institute's annual dinner, Mr Fennell said a proper self-assessment system must include an efficient functioning appeals system as an integral component.

The Tax Institute has previously called for changes to the appeals regime after it emerged that thousands of taxpayers are in dispute with Revenue with a backlog that could take up to 10 years to clear.

There were 251 appeals lodged last month, with only one resolved, he said.

"Taxpayers deserve certainty in terms of their tax liabilities. For a cohort of taxpayers who are locked indefinitely in the tax appeals system, the State is letting them down," he said.

Meanwhile, for the broader economy, he warned that change is happening at a rapid pace.

"On the international tax policy side, 2018 will be a very significant year. There will emerge new proposals to tax the digital economy or digital transactions, further implementation of BEPS, the unfolding of US tax reforms and new central pillars for our own (Irish) corporate tax regime," Mr Fennell said.

The rise of internet giants has challenged tax authorities, and change is coming, he said.

"While I won't suggest 'winter is coming', the challenges of digital taxation will likely herald degrees of change not seen before," he added.

Irish Independent

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