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Black economy on the rise as 14pc get jobs done by nixers

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Home repair services have a high instance of undeclared work

Home repair services have a high instance of undeclared work

Home repair services have a high instance of undeclared work

Ireland's 'black' economy is growing, a new survey by the European Commission has reported.

A Eurobarometer report on undeclared work found that 14pc of people surveyed in Ireland last year admitted paying for undeclared goods or services in the previous 12 months.

It represented an increase of 4 percentage points since a similar poll was conducted in 2013.

The EU average was 11pc, although the figure is as high as 30pc in Malta and 27pc in the Netherlands.

Similarly, 5pc of Irish respondents admitted carrying out work in the previous 12 months which was not declared to Revenue - up from 2pc seven years ago. The EU average was 4pc.

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The survey is the third on undeclared 'off the books' work conducted by the European Commission through its Eurobarometer polls since 2007.

The research was carried out by the Kantar network across all 27 member states and the UK, including a survey of over 1,000 respondents in the Republic.

The nixers survey found that 26pc of Irish respondents knew someone who worked in the black economy (up from 25pc in 2013) - the lowest rate among the 27 EU member states where the average was 36pc.

A third said it was acceptable for an individual hired by a private household not to declare income to the tax authorities, although half said there was a high risk of being caught and issued with fines and penalties.

The survey suggests that people providing services relating to home repairs and renovations are most likely to be engaging in the black economy.

Over a third of people surveyed in Ireland said they suspected that money they had spent on home repairs and renovations in the previous 12 months was undeclared.

Over a fifth of people said they had good reason to believe money spent on gardening services was not declared to the tax or social security authorities. The survey showed Irish people are more likely than most Europeans to have undeclared work done for them by people they don't know rather than by friends or relatives.

It also revealed that 36pc of Irish people bought undeclared goods or services because they were cheaper, compared to the EU average of 48pc.

One in five said they used black economy labour because they wanted to help someone who was in need of money, while 18pc said it was because the good or service was difficult to find on the regular market.

The European Commission said undeclared work was a major challenge affecting governments, businesses and workers across Europe.


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