Monday 20 August 2018

Revenue could be tasked with collecting TV licence under new outsourcing plans

RTE director general Dee Forbes wants the TV licence fee collection process to be overhauled
RTE director general Dee Forbes wants the TV licence fee collection process to be overhauled

Conor McCrave

The government is considering outsourcing the collection of the TV licence fee or collecting it through revenue commissioners in a bid to craic down on fee evaders.

Minister for Communications, Denis Naughten is preparing a memo that will propose Revenue or an outsourced provider are the best options to tackle the issue, according to the Sunday Business Post.

It is believed the Minister intends on establishing a working group of civil servants to determine which of the two options would work best.

Director of RTÉ, Dee Forbes has been calling for a clamp down on households who do not pay the €160 licence fee, as well as suggesting the expansion of the terms of the licence to include online streaming services such as Netflix.

Earlier this year, Ms Forbes told the Dáíl Public Accounts Committee that the national broadcaster has “inadequate resources” and is heavily impacted by the loss of €60m which goes uncollected through evasion.

In Britain, the TV licence fee contract is outsourced to private firm Capita and sees an evasion rate of just over 7pc. Evasion in Ireland is more than double that at 14.6pc.

The working group if approved by cabinet is expected to return a decision early next year.

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