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Irish Revenue Commissioners Seeking Strengthened Prosecution Powers

by Jason Gorringe, for LawAndTax-News.com, London

07 December 2004


Chairman of Ireland's Revenue Commission, Frank Daly last week announced that the tax authority would be calling for a change to the wording of the legislation governing the aiding and abetting of tax evasion in the Finance Bill.

Mr Daly has, over the course of this year, been quite vocal in his demand for tougher legislation in this area, arguing that it is often prohibitively difficult for Revenue Commissioners to obtain the burden of proof necessary to prosecute a bank or tax advisor for aiding and abetting tax evasion.

Speaking on Thursday with regard to the desired changes to the wording of the legislation, the Revenue Commission chief announced that:

"What we thinking of is a fairly simple charge, worded along the lines of 'Anybody who takes steps to facilitate the fraudulent evasion of tax'."

However, speaking to the Sunday Business Post, several prominent figures in the Irish tax community suggested that Mr Daly was trying to deflect public anger over the lack of prosecutions for tax evasion away from the Revenue Commission by blaming poorly phrased legislation.

An unnamed senior counsel additionally suggested that securing a prosecution in cases of tax evasion is not so difficult as it has been painted by the Revenue chief.

"You don't simply have to prosecute for tax offences. You can take a case under money laundering legislation and the burden of proof is not nearly so high," he explained, adding:

"I really can't understand why the Revenue have not used this legislation on a de facto basis."

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