I am advised by Revenue that it is very conscious of the current economic environment and the difficulties it can pose for some individuals in dealing with their tax affairs. Revenue has responded to this environment by encouraging taxpayers experiencing particular payment difficulties to engage proactively when such difficulties arise in order to find a mutually acceptable solution, which can quickly restore voluntary timely compliance. In this regard I am informed that Revenue currently has almost 16,000 phased payment arrangements in place to the value of approximately €124m
Where such engagement is not forthcoming then Revenue has no option but to utilise appropriate collection enforcement measures, including referral to Sheriffs, to pursue outstanding tax debts.
Revenue has informed me that in the particular case to which the Deputy refers, the tax debt was referred to the Sheriff for collection following failure by the taxpayer to respond to demands issued to him. Once a tax debt is referred in this manner then all responsibility for negotiations and payment arrangements in regard to the liability in question transfers from Revenue to the Sheriff and the taxpayer must deal directly with that office in regard to settlement.
Notwithstanding the above, Revenue has informed me that given the difficult circumstances outlined by the Deputy in this particular case it has made contact with the Sheriff and outlined the issues. The Sheriff has confirmed that he is happy to discuss the issue with the person in question and hopefully come to an arrangement that suits all parties. The person or his representative should make contact with Mr Garrett Barry in the Sheriff's Office with a view to making the necessary arrangements. Mr Barry's telephone number is 021-4270100.