Revenue collects extra €213m in tax crackdown

More than 1,300 disclosures made of assets held in the UK. The Revenue Commissioners took a €213m tax haul last year as a result of a crackdown on defaulters that was backed by the recruitment of extra staff.

And €87.6m of the tax was paid by people on assets held across the world, including the UK, Australia, the United States, the British Virgin Islands, Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

Of the disclosures of offshore assets made under the increased Revenue scrutiny, nine were for more than €1m each, while 18 were for between €500,000 and €1m. Most of the disclosures of offshore assets – 2,828 in total during 2017 – were for amounts of less than €5,000.

Offshore property, shares, bank accounts and pensions accounted for most of the assets that were disclosed.

The Revenue Commissioners said in an evaluation report of compliance measures introduced by the 2017 Budget, that more than 1,300 disclosures were made in respect of assets in the UK – the single largest number. Almost 14pc related to assets in the United States.

And while assets based in Switzerland and the Isle of Man comprised just a small number of the total disclosures, they accounted for more than a quarter, or 25.8pc, of the total value of the almost €88m in disclosures.

The Revenue Commissioners said that of disclosures of UK assets, nearly 25pc of the value of the disclosures related to property, and 20pc to pensions.

Jersey and Malta were dominated by disclosures related to trusts, while those from Australia, Spain, France, Portugal and Spain related mainly to property.

In October 2016, then Finance Minister Michael Noonan said the release of the Panama Papers that year had showed how offshore structures and accounts could be used to avoid paying tax.

He allocated an extra €5m in funding to the Revenue Commissioners for 2017 to recruit 50 extra staff and to invest in IT systems that are increasingly used to detect irregularities and evasion.

The Revenue Commissioners was set a target of yielding an additional €130m for the Exchequer.

The compliance report prepared by the Revenue Commissioners in respect of 2017 shows that its €213m haul significantly beat that target.

The money included €63m that was secured from so-called Section 110 companies – more than the €50m target that had been set.

Section 110 of the Taxes Consolidation Act was amended in 2016 to restrict the use of profit-participating loans where they were used to finance the business of Section 110 companies related to Irish property transactions.

Revenue said that the average audit yield per full-time employee in 2017 was €424,700. It said the average yield for risk management interventions last year was €515,300 per full-time employee.

It added that in 2016, 157 new staff were assigned to audit functions at the Revenue Commissioners.

The report said that the group of employees delivered a tax yield of €22.8m that year, or an average of €155,000 per case worker. Of that group, 139 continued in audit functions in 2017, but the average tax yield per case worker rose to €282,000. The report predicted that the average yield for each of those workers this year will be €310,000.

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