The Revenue Commissioners were escalating a crackdown on Airbnb property owners ahead of the Covid-19 lockdown, new documents reveal.
Minutes of a meeting between senior Revenue audit officials and accounting and legal representatives provided an update on a pilot project on compliance in the area of accommodation services such as Airbnb.
The update on the "Short-Term Letting Project" from February stated: "Revenue have commenced a pilot project on short term lettings. To date 44 aspect query letters have issued and more are expected to issue.
"The aspect query letters are a follow on from the Service for Compliance letters which previously issued."
The matter was discussed at the meeting of the Tax Administration Liaison Committee sub-committee on audits.
The letter campaign in 2018 targeted 12,000 Airbnb landlords and Revenue then analysed the results for signs of underpayment of tax last year.
Aspect queries are a request of information by Revenue in relation to a particular risk that has been identified. They are not full-blown audits but have the potential to escalate.
"In 2019, our compliance activity touched on all sectors of the economy but there were a number of areas which were of particular focus, including short-term accommodation," a spokesman for Revenue said.
"In general, and while Covid-19 restrictive measures are in place we have suspended audit and other compliance intervention activity on taxpayers' premises until further notice. However, where possible, we continue to engage with businesses to progress compliance interventions through MyEnquiries or by telephone."
Last December, Revenue confirmed to the Sunday Independent that it was launching a pilot compliance programme for the short-term letting sector, initially writing to around 30 taxpayers known to receive Airbnb income.
Sunday Indo Business