Saturday 25 May 2019

'Tsunami' of tax appeals, PAC told

PAC chairman Sean Fleming. Photo: Damien Eagers
PAC chairman Sean Fleming. Photo: Damien Eagers
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Concerns were raised yesterday at the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) about the massive backlog of tax appeals cases.

The Tax Appeals Commission (TAC) accounting officer Mark O'Mahony told TDs that it has the equivalent of 14.5 full-time staff members - most hired in the last 18 months.

"It has taken us a long time to recruit suitable people and we are still significantly short of the necessary staffing levels," he said.

He said that his organisation's mandate requires it to put in place an independent, effective and efficient tax appeals system but they do not believe it can be done without adequate resources.

PAC chairman Seán Fleming TD noted that the TAC received 1,751 appeals in 2017 and settled 693. He said it's "obvious" the TAC needs more staff and he claimed that the Government is "letting down the taxpayer".

"You actually have my sympathies trying to cope with this tsunami of appeals relative to the size of your office."

Meanwhile, the PAC was told that tax debt relating to the collapse of boom-time property companies represents the biggest share of sums written off by Revenue at the start of last year.

The PAC heard that €1.8bn in uncollectable tax debt has been written off since 2010.

Revenue chairman Niall Cody said the majority was a result of company liquidations.

He said that sums written off up to March 2017 was higher than normal and the "biggest proportion of that was actually liquidations of companies in the property development/ construction from the collapse of the building industry".

Irish Independent

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