Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (84, 85)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

84. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the number of bankruptcies initiated by the Revenue Commissioners; the number of adjudications in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the combined tax debts in respect of such bankruptcies in each year; the amount subsequently recovered in each period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35177/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

85. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the number of cases following on from bankruptcies initiated by the Revenue Commissioners in which a person or a family lost their home in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35178/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 84 and 85 together.

I am advised by Revenue that its clear preference is to engage with taxpayers experiencing tax payment difficulties and to agree mutually acceptable solutions rather than deploying debt collection/enforcement sanctions to secure payment of outstanding liabilities. In general, Revenue petitions for bankruptcy to the High-Court as a last resort, where all other avenues of enforcement have been exhausted.

The court process generally allows time for the parties to come to an arrangement. However, where this is not possible, the High-Court will proceed with the bankruptcy adjudication. Once debtors are adjudicated bankrupt, their assets, which may include a family home, vest with the Official Assignee, which is a function of the Insolvency Service of Ireland. Once a person is adjudicated as bankrupt, Revenue is legally obliged to accept its share of any asset distribution in accordance with its status as a preferential creditor.

While Revenue would be aware of a bankrupt’s assets from its own debt collection/enforcement action (pre-bankruptcy), it has no authority to instruct the Official Assignee on the sale of any assets, including the family home. Therefore, the Deputy’s Question regarding the loss of family homes in Revenue-initiated bankruptcy cases is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality.

The following table sets out the number of bankruptcies initiated by Revenue, the number of adjudications, the combined tax debts involved, and the amount recovered in the period 2015 to date. It should be noted that cases can take several years to progress through the Courts and an adjudication or recovered tax debt in one year is likely to relate to a bankruptcy petition from an earlier year.

Year

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019   YTD

Bankruptcies Initiated by Revenue

19

13

20

21

4

Bankruptcy Adjudications 

11

8

22

6

3

Combined Adjudicated Tax Debt

€6.2m

€9.2m

€13.9m

€2.7m

€0.5m

*Recovered Tax Debt from the Official Assignee

€0.02m

€0.48m

€0.24m

€0.24m

€0.97m

*Includes both Revenue initiated cases and Non-Revenue initiated cases as a breakdown between both sub-sets is not readily available from the Official Assignee.