Revenue moves on almost 5,000 businesses
Revenue has ramped up the pressure on defaulting businesses across the country by issuing a record number of attachment orders last year, the Irish Independent can reveal.
Tax officials moved on almost 5,000 business owners who "failed to engage" with the authorities - the highest number in four years.
A total of 4,935 attachment orders were served on the earnings of businesses in 2014, representing almost a 20pc increase on the year before.
And a county-by-county breakdown shows that many large urban areas, such as Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Derry and Kilkenny have experienced an increase in possession orders being served.
The number of possession orders issued have also risen in more rural counties such as Carlow, Kildare, Kerry, Longford, Louth, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow and Wexford.
Revenue is sending out more attachment orders to businesses despite setting smaller collection targets on previous years. The figures suggest that Revenue is adopting a tougher stance on employers who are defaulting on their debt.
Reform Alliance TD Billy Timmins last night expressed concern over the figures, warning that businesses who are already struggling are now being pushed to the pin of their collar.
"While I absolutely accept that Revenue has a duty to pursue these monies on behalf of the taxpayer, I am concerned that Revenue is not as flexible as it should be," the Wicklow deputy told the Irish Independent.
"For every one attachment order issued, two or three others are on the verge of being issued."
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said Revenue has assured him that all avenues are pursued before an attachment order is issued.
The combined value of overall attachments orders in 2014 - or the total amount targeted by Revenue - came to just over €161m, down from €173.5m in 2013.