Written Answers. - Tax Amnesty.

Proinsias De Rossa

Question:

105 Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for Finance if he will outline in relation to the 1988 tax amnesty (1) the total amount received under each tax category, (2) the total amount of interest due on payments made but waived under the amnesty and (3) the number of persons who benefited from the waiving of interest due.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that in addition to the £497 million which was received in 1988 on foot of the amnesty and related matters, the breakdown of which was already given in my reply to your previous parliamentary question on 14 November 1989, a further £20 million approximately in excess of what is normally received by them from the sheriffs in the first three months of a year, but which was received in that period in 1989, could reasonably be attributed to the amnesty. A breakdown of that figure by tax category is not available.

I am also informed that because of the vast number of individual cases involved covering all the taxes concerned, the commissioners did not compile statistics for the total amount of interest due by persons and companies who came within the terms of the amnesty. All available resources during the amnesty period were fully extended in coping with accounting and receipting procedures and could not be deployed to the costly exercise of calculating interest that might otherwise be due. The task of managing the amnesty would have been totally disrupted if resources had been expended on such a calculation. This disruption would have adversely affected the success of the amnesty.

I am also informed by the commissioners that precise information on numbers who benefited from the amnesty is not available. In 1988, as a result of the amnesty, 357,000 more payments were receipted by the Collector-General than in 1987. This represents a 30 per cent increase in 1988 as compared with 1987. As many of those availing of the amnesty submitted multiple payments in respect of their various tax liabilities, it is not possible to state the number of taxpayers from whom payments were received.