Saturday 20 January 2018

Taxman in crackdown on NAMA and black economy

Ailish O'Hora Public Affairs Correspondent

REVENUE has been given a number of new powers under the Finance Bill ranging from the policing of the black economy to the monitoring of tax compliance at the new National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

As the Government attempts to beef up its tax take against the backdrop of the economic downturn, the Revenue will play a bigger role in generating incomes.

"This is enhancing the powers of the Revenue Commissioners to ensure everyone pays the correct amount of tax," a spokesperson from the Department of Finance said.

In a bid to clamp down on the black economy, the tax body will be given more information from transport operators in advance of arrival or departure from the country to target the smuggling of goods liable for customs or excise duty.

For example, the maximum fine for smuggling cigarettes into the country has been hiked to €126,960 from the current level of €12,695 under the new bill.

Retailers yesterday said they lost nearly €700m in revenues from tobacco being sold illegally on the black market.

Under section 145 of the Finance Act, Revenue will also be given access to information on tax compliance by NAMA, the body designed to purge the banks of developer loans.

As NAMA prepares to transfer billions of euro in toxic loans to its books, if it becomes aware of any offshore companies or entities in transactions under its scrutiny the body will pass this information on to the Revenue for policing. This will ensure that property deals are correctly handled for tax purposes.

Other powers include the overseeing of the tax treatment of company directors.

The Revenue will ensure that the amount of PAYE tax credit available to individuals is less than the amount they pay under Section 997A of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997.


The body has also been given the authority to serve summons normally reserved for the gardai in relation to tax, excise or stamp duty payments.

In addition, it will oversee the new taxes to be added to the list of those which must be paid before the Revenue can issue a Tax Clearance Certificate including customers and excise duties.

The Revenue will also be given more information from the Taxi Regulator to ensure that tax compliance is adhered to in that sector.

Meanwhile, Section 152 of the bill also sets up a legal framework for judges to pay their voluntary contribution towards the pension levy to the Revenue.

By the end of last month, 30 judges had yet to pay or make arrangements to make voluntary payments.

Irish Independent

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