Saturday 18 November 2017

Tip-offs and covert ops used to catch tax evaders

Claire McCormack

TIP-offs from the public, covert surveillance and operations targeting businesses are all used by the Revenue Commissioners to clamp down on tax evasion.

From calling into every business on a street, village or at a special event - called a streetscape - to inconspicuously estimating takings in cash businesses, Revenue officials mount operations across the country aimed at increasing compliance.

Last year, officials carried out more than 100 unannounced operations, including streetscapes and cold calls to businesses, to check for non-compliance with tax obligations, including registration for all appropriate taxes and excise duties.

Spokesman Seamas O Cathasaigh said it examined tax returns of businesses before undertaking operations in specific areas.

"For streetscapes we might decide to visit a town or a street. We do all the businesses unannounced to check, for instance, that if they have employees, they have a register, which they are obliged by law to have or to see the size of the business and compare it to our preparation work," he said.

Revenue visited more than 1,100 separate businesses during 2013 and streetscapes 
resulted in 127 cases of people registering for additional taxes. Follow-up action was also necessary for 830 taxpayers with compliance issues.

Officials said while random surveillance measures wouldn't be an every day operation, they were triggered by "good citizen" reports.

"We may have got information from a member of the public, people write in and tell us. We call them good citizen reports," said Mr O Cathasaigh.

Irish Independent

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