Thursday, 17 October 2019

Ceisteanna (90)

Michael McGrath


90. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of cases over the past five years in which the Revenue Commissioners have settled a tax liability for less than the value of the tax liability; the difference in each year between the final settlements made and tax liabilities in those settlements; the reason for settling for less than the tax liability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42853/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that it does not accept amounts in settlement that are less than the actual amounts due. However, certain circumstances can arise where a taxpayer does not have the financial capacity to pay the additional liability identified during a compliance intervention and can claim inability to pay.    

Any inability to pay claim must be supported with clear evidence of the taxpayer’s financial situation and Revenue always reserves the right to subsequently reverse an agreed ‘claim’ if the person’s situation unexpectedly improves. The following table sets out the amounts (tax, interest and penalties) that were accepted as ‘Inability to Pay’ by Revenue over the past five years.


Number of Inability to Pay Cases

Inability to Pay Amounts



€22.9 m



€21.3 m



€19.6 m



€13.8 m



€24.8 m 

 Where an inability to pay claim is not accepted, Revenue pursues collection with the taxpayer for the full amount (tax, interest and penalties) due. Where the taxpayer does not pay the liability, either as a single payment or on a phased basis, Revenue uses its debt collection/enforcement options, including Sheriff, Court Judgments and Attachment Orders to secure payment.

In the most egregious cases, Revenue will apply to the Courts to commence insolvency proceedings including Liquidation (corporate entities) and Bankruptcy (individuals). Once a taxpayer is adjudicated insolvent, Revenue is legally obliged to accept a reduced amount, having regard to its preferential creditor status.

As the Deputy is aware, the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) included a review of ‘tax compliance interventions’ (Chapter 17) in the 2018 Report of the Accounts of the Public Services.