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Fuel Laundering

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 4 November 2020

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Questions (38, 42)

Imelda Munster

Question:

38. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Finance the number of fuel tank tests tested for marked fuel in 2018 and 2019; and the number of positive tests in each year. [33992/20]

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Imelda Munster

Question:

42. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Finance the annual loss of revenue in 2018 and 2019 due to diesel laundering broken down by tax stream including VAT, excise duty and other relevant tax streams in tabular form. [33989/20]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 38 and 42 together.

I am advised by Revenue that a multifaceted approach is taken to tackling the misuse of fuel and its compliance activities in this area include roadside sampling of private and commercial vehicles at checkpoints combined with a risk based targeted sampling programme based on enhanced supply chain reporting for suppliers and retailers. In addition, Revenue and the UK Revenue and Customs undertook a joint initiative to introduce a new marker for use in marked fuels, which came into operation in April 2015.

The number of samples of Marked Gas Oil drawn and the consequential detections of misused fuel for the years 2018 and 2019 are set out below.

Year

Samples Drawn

Misuse Detections

2018

27,875

835

2019

33,984

867

Revenue conducted random National Sampling Programmes in the years 2016 to 2019 to assess the extent of fuel laundering. The results for all 4 years of the sampling programmes to date are summarised in the report of the 2019 programme published at: https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/research/oil-sampling-programme-2019.pdf.

The 2019 programme involved samples being taken from over 200 randomly selected licenced fuel outlets and transport sector trades. Evidence of misuse of fuel was discovered in only 3 cases.

The results represent confirmation of the effectiveness of the various measures introduced by Revenue in recent years to enhance compliance in the fuel trade and among users of diesel. The random sampling programme results do not signify the complete elimination of the illicit trade in fuel. However, they do demonstrate that systematic selling of illicit fuel through retail outlets and its use in the transport sector is negligible.

I am advised by Revenue that it does not measure on an annual basis the level of tax loss due to diesel laundering. By its nature, an illicit activity such as fuel laundering is not something that can be easily assessed or accurately estimated. However, a number of indicators are used to monitor trends in this area and are detailed in the information I have provided to the Deputy.

Despite the success in combatting the misuse of fuel I am assured by Revenue that combatting such criminality continues to be a priority. Revenue and An Garda Síochána collaborate closely in acting against cross-border fuel crime and also co-operate with their counterparts in Northern Ireland under the framework of the North-South Joint Agency Task Force. This cooperation plays a key role in targeting the organised crime groups who operate across jurisdictions and are responsible for much of this criminality.

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