Revenue has advised me that investment in the training and development of a Revenue auditor or investigator can take up to three years, depending on previous relevant experience. Therefore, it is not possible to accurately estimate the additional yield that would immediately arise from the recruitment of 180 audit staff.
Revenue has also advised me that it undertakes a range of risk management interventions to target and confront different types of non-compliance in addition to tax evasion, for example, shadow economy and smuggling detection activity. The range of interventions used by Revenue has expanded in recent years to cover such diverse risks and includes, assurance checks, aspect queries, profile interviews, enforcement, investigations and prosecutions in addition to tax audits.
The intervention deployed by Revenue in a case depends on the level of risk involved, and the average rate of return varies, depending on the scale of non-compliance. Also, in some types of interventions, for example enforcement, the focus is on the detection of drugs and fiscal smuggling where the direct exchequer yield is not the immediate objective.
As Minister for Finance, I have always responded positively to any requests from Revenue for additional resources needed to tackle identified areas of tax or duty risk. For example, in each Budget since Budget 2016 I have introduced a series of ‘compliance measures’ changes, which were aimed at raising tax revenue through enhanced taxpayer compliance and on each occasion, I have provided the necessary additional resources required by Revenue to ensure successful delivery. The analysis of the results of these compliance measures is available on the Revenue website at: www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/information-about-revenue/research/reviews/index.aspx, which may be of interest to the Deputy.