Written Answers. - Tax Enforcement.

37.

asked the Minister for Finance the reason it is proposed to transfer the duties of country registrars to newly appointed sheriffs before the report and recommendations of the inter-departmental committee is received by him; if he is aware that county registrars have made many requests for extra staff to the Departments of Finance and the Public Service so that they could carry out their duties of revenue and civil debt collection; if he is aware that all such requests were refused which has led to the present substantial collection arrears; if transfer of all duties of enforcement in connection with the collection of revenue and civil debt into private franchise in 24 counties and the setting up and operation of the new system would take considerable time which would result in making the present situation result in additional expense to the Exchequer; if he will agree that given the required staff and facilities that the present system will work; if he is aware that court messengers in circuit court offices and other permanent staff would be redundant which could lead to industrial action being taken; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

It is not intended to transfer the duties of county registrars to sheriffs. The Government have, however, decided that the responsibility for the enforcement of certificates of tax liability under section 485 of the 1967 Income Tax Act should be transferred from county registrars to newly established sheriffs. The Government are satisfied that the proposed new arrangements for tax enforcement will be more effective than the existing system and are confident that major transitional problems will not arise.