I am advised by Revenue that it is not in a position to provide the information requested by the Deputy as the data requested is not captured in a form that is readily accessible. Revenue obtains the information relating to the amount of tax that is ‘held under appeal’ from its IT systems. Outstanding tax liabilities are automatically identified by the presence of an appeal stop marker that is input to suspend the collection of the disputed tax, if not already paid, pending the determination of the appeal. Prior to an appeal being made to the Tax Appeals Commission, taxpayers can pay the amount of tax being disputed to prevent interest being applied if the taxpayer is unsuccessful in the appeal. Any protective payments made by a taxpayer are not identified as such on Revenue systems and are indiscernible from other payments made by them in a tax period. However, the records of each individual taxpayer fully reflect any payments by them.
Given the ‘point in time’ nature of the information contained in Revenue’s appeals data and other limitations, it is not possible to quantify the total amount prepaid relating to tax under appeal or the number of taxpayers who have prepaid monies that are in dispute. While Revenue has detailed information at an individual taxpayer level there is no systematic way of retrieving this information.
As the Deputy is aware, the Comptroller and Auditor General included a chapter on the Management of tax appeals in his 2019 Annual Report in which he noted that “Revenue is not in a position to quantify the total amount prepaid relating to tax under appeal …, or how much in total was refunded by Revenue to taxpayers as a result of Revenue losing appeals”. The full chapter of the report is available at www.audit.gov.ie/en/find-report/publications/2020/2019-annual-report-chapter-14-management-of-tax-appeals.pdf.