Monday 17 June 2019

Revenue almost trebles number of individuals on their high wealth assessment list

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

Ralph Riegel

THE Revenue Commissioners have almost trebled the number of individuals on their high wealth assessment list following a Dail watchdog review.

The number of individuals on the list has now soared to over 700 - a near trebling of those who are subjected to careful ongoing assessment by the Revenue Commissioners - after a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recommendation was adopted to drop the qualifying wealth threshold from €50m to €20m.

Public Accounts Committee Chairman Sean Fleming TD revealed that the Revenue Commissioners, to check their data, even cross-referenced their own list of high wealth individuals with the 'Top 100 Rich List' published each year by The Sunday Independent.

"Those lists were also beneficial," he said.

"All in all it was a good day for the Irish taxpayer, a good day for the Revenue Commissioners and a good day for the Public Accounts Committee."

The move is expected to lead to enhanced tax revenues through a more streamlined system.

Revenue stressed to Catherine Murphy TD that no cases of major tax non-compliance were found.

However, the individuals added to the list - some of whom are non-resident for tax purposes - will be carefully and continually assessed to ensure tax is being paid in the correct jurisdiction.

"This is a very important improvement," Mr Fleming said.

"Up to this the net assets (required) was €50m and they had 200 high wealth individuals on their books.

"They also had 278 associated cases.

"As a result of lowering the limit from €50m to €20m, they are now going to add in a further 475 primary cases - they are going to be more than trebled.

"That has to be a good issue."

The parameters for inclusion on the list include the value of economic assets held or controlled in Ireland by the individual ranging from shares to property.

Other issues that people were assessed for under the high wealth category was DIRT tax, rental income, property ownership, share dividends and income tax.

Bank data was also assessed as well as pensions, inheritances and gifts.

"There were 68 tax payers identified - 35 of whom were also identified from the criteria but they did not come into the case because of various other categories."

Catherine Murphy TD asked whether the threshold changes had identified any serious tax compliance issues.

Revenue stressed that it found no major cases where tax was outstanding.

However, it is expected that, over time, the move will benefit both Irish tax revenues and collection efficiency.

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