Search is 'highly unusual'
THE Revenue Commissioners' decision to search the home of Independent TD Michael Lowry is highly unusual.
Tax accountants contacted by the Irish Independent last night made clear that officials sought a warrant only under rare circumstances. It would be unusual for the Revenue to make such a move unless they were comfortable that it would benefit any case they were building against a company or individual.
Under the Taxes Consolidation Act of 1997, an "authorised officer" of the Revenue has the power to enter a premises where any trade or profession is carried out, at a reasonable time and to request, search for, and inspect records. However, a search may be conducted at a private residence such as Mr Lowry's home, "only where the officer has been invited to enter the house by the occupier or on foot of a warrant by the District Court".
The law itself draws a clear line between officials entering someone's place of business and their home.
District court judges may sign off on a warrant only if they are "satisfied by information on oath that it is proper to do so" to further the Revenue's case. A spokesman for the Revenue Commissioners declined to comment.