Thursday, 24 October 2013

Questions (70)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

70. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he or his Department has received from the French Government or any other government a list of suspected tax evaders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45437/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

Information on Irish residents who derive income from sources outside the State is received on a regular basis under the provisions of the exchange of information article in our double taxation treaties and, in the case of EU Member States, information can also be received under the provisions of Council Directive 2011/16/EU on administrative assistance in the field of taxation. The taxes covered by Ireland's double taxation treaties and Council Directive 2011/16/EU are income tax (including the universal social charge), corporation tax and capital gains tax. Some of Ireland's more recent double taxation treaties enable exchange of information relating to "taxes of every kind and description".

The most commonly used methods by which information is exchanged are:

- On request, i.e. where the Revenue Commissioners identify a particular case and request information from the Competent Authority of the other country;

- Spontaneously, i.e. where a tax official of the other country becomes aware of information, for example during an audit, which could relate to loss of Irish tax;

- Automatically, i.e. information covering many cases of a similar kind that can be transmitted systematically on a regular basis, e.g. refunds of withholding tax to persons with addresses in Ireland.

In relation to France, information is received by the Revenue Commissioners regularly from the French Ministry of Finance under the provisions of the Exchange of Information Article in our double taxation treaty with France and under the provisions of Council Directive 2011/16/EU. This has included information provided spontaneously in relation to a list of 33 Irish residents. Settlements in 19 of these cases, following investigation by Revenue, amount to €4.3 million. Enquiries are on-going in 6 other cases, and 8 cases have been closed as it was established that there were no tax issues. A prosecution is before the Courts in 1 case, and 3 other cases are under investigation for prosecution.

The Deputy may also wish to note that I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that other treaty partner countries, namely Australia, United Kingdom and the United States have advised them that they have obtained a very significant amount of data revealing complex offshore structures and that they intend to use this data to share information with partners, including with Ireland. They have also indicated that in view of the complexity of the data, this is likely to take some time and they will make such information available to Revenue via the Competent Authority.