Thursday, 2 May 2013

Questions (75)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

75. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance if and when it might be possible for the Revenue Commissioners to reach conclusion in respect of liability for income tax, pending and or due in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21068/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

This is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners. Firstly, I would like to briefly comment on Revenue’s approach to tax collection and in particular its overall compliance and debt management approach.

Revenue has a strong focus on making sure that every individual and business complies with the responsibility to pay the right amount of tax or duty including interest and penalties, which are due, in full and on time. That is an appropriate and correct focus for Revenue and one that I fully endorse. Delays in the collection of tax revenues properly due, adds to the level of Government borrowing and public debt interest and confers an unfair competitive advantage on non-compliant businesses. Remedying late or non compliance is preferably achieved through engagement with the business or taxpayer, but when that engagement is only partially forthcoming, or perhaps not at all, then Revenue has no option but to utilise measures such as the charging and collection of interest or the deployment of effective enforcement measures to secure payment of the tax debt and to encourage future voluntary timely compliance.

In regard to the case to which the Deputy has referred, I am informed by Revenue that the Collector-General’s office has tried unsuccessfully to engage with the person in question on a number of occasions about his outstanding tax debts, much of which was identified during a Revenue audit. While the person did previously commit to sell a foreign property to meet his tax debts unfortunately no progress was made in this regard, nor has there been any further meaningful engagement from the person. As a consequence Revenue was left with no alternative but to refer the outstanding tax for enforcement.

To date the person in question has refused to engage with the enforcement agents nor has he given any instruction to his own tax advisor in this regard. Given the complete lack of engagement Revenue has no option but to continue with enforcement proceedings to secure payment of the outstanding tax. I would recommend that the person or his advisor immediately contact the enforcement agents to bring matters to a conclusion and prevent further escalation.

Finally, from the Deputy’s representation it seems that the person in question has ceased trading with effect from 4 May 2012. That being the case the person should contact Revenue to cease the relevant registration numbers, which are currently generating tax estimates and inflating the outstanding debt.