Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Questions (20)

Joe McHugh

Question:

20. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on the importance of reducing the administrative burden on businesses as a means of driving commerce here; if he will refer specifically to tax compliance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50487/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

My Department and its Agencies continue to focus on reducing administrative burdens on business, with a reduction of 25% already having been achieved; this amounts to annual potential savings for business of over €207 million. Details of all the initiatives making up this total are available on my Department’s website. Successful initiatives resulting in significant savings include:

- In Company Law, savings of €82 million per annum have already been realised, more than €33 million of which are due to the work of the Companies Registration Office (CRO), as companies can submit their annual returns online via the CRO website and can now use digital signatures for the B1 Form and Accounts.

- In Health & Safety Law, a total of €124 million in annual administrative savings for business has been delivered by the HSA via two key projects: the BeSMART online tool for preparing the Risk Assessment and Safety Statement (€60m), and the SMP20 Guidelines (€64m), which assist construction firms with fewer than 20 employees in establishing and maintaining an effective safety management system.

- In Employment Law, savings of €1.2 million were realised by simplifying online procedures and forms.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that reducing the administration burden on taxpayers and making it as easy as possible for them to be compliant is one of their key corporate objectives. In recent years the Revenue Commissioners have also reduced the administrative burden on business by 25% through a number of initiatives, saving the business community over €85 million per year. I am also advised that in the Revenue Statement of Strategy 2011-2014, one of its core strategic priorities is to make it easier and less costly for taxpayers to comply and Revenue is constantly looking for opportunities to drive down compliance costs for business.

The success of strategies is borne out to some extent when comparing this country against other jurisdictions. One such benchmark study is the World Bank/PWC Report “Ease of Paying Taxes 2014”. In this study, out of 189 countries, Ireland ranks in 6th place and 1st in the EU. The level of voluntary compliance is also a valid indicator of the effectiveness of a tax administration. Revenue’s strategies include consulting with stakeholders, reducing complexity and providing good quality services to make it as easy as possible to comply. This approach, as evidenced by the table, has resulted in very high levels of compliance.

Tax

2012

2011

PAYE/PRSI

95%

95%

VAT

91%

91%

Preliminary Income Tax (Non PAYE)

98%

97%

Capital Gains Tax

94%

91%

Corporation Tax

98%

91%

Relevant Contracts Tax

86%

85%

We also need to continue to listen to business, especially SMEs and micro-enterprises, and find out where regulation is most burdensome. The High Level Group on Business Regulation, chaired by Deputy Perry, the Minister for Small Business, acts as a standing dialogue between business and Government, and looks for solutions to specific administrative burden issues brought to its attention by the business members.

A key part of reducing regulatory burdens is better communication; my Department seeks to improve how information on regulation is communicated, for example through its businessregulation.ie portal which I launched in 2012. This website brings together in one place many strands of regulatory and compliance information. A further successful recent initiative was the ‘Taking Care of Business’ event in Dublin Castle, which brought 500 attendees into direct contact with over 20 Agencies and Departments.