Saturday 24 August 2019

Hunt for firms that dodge tax through workers

Expect tax inspections: Employment Minister Regina Doherty
Expect tax inspections: Employment Minister Regina Doherty
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Unscrupulous companies that force people to falsely register as self-employed are being warned inspections are set to ramp up as part of a Government crackdown.

Writing in today's Irish Independent Employment Affairs and Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty confirms that as unemployment falls, inspections will ramp up.

The issue of bogus self-employment is difficult to quantify, according to Ms Doherty.

One trade union has estimated the issue is costing the State €300m a year in lost taxes. However, experts argue the situation may be worsening in the jobs market.

Bogus self-employment refers to companies forcing people to register as self-employed when they are effectively employed.

It also refers to people who register as self-employed to avoid paying the required taxes or covering benefits for employees.

Cabinet has signed off on a range of measures to clamp-down on the practice. These include a review of the code of practice used to determine if someone is self-employed. Officials are examining whether this can be updated and put on a legal footing.

The Work Relations Commission is also set to be granted wider powers in order to tackle the problem of people being unfairly treated if they ask for their status to be reviewed.

Ms Doherty writes of a need to "recalibrate our current inspection regime": "Now unemployment has fallen significantly, we have an opportunity to focus inspection resources on employment issues. In this regard, my department has engaged in a programme of training for its inspectors with a view to more intensive employer inspections from here on."

A dedicated team is also set to be in place by the end of the month to specifically target larger companies.

Irish Independent

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