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Irish Tax Investigations Typically Last Almost A Year

by Jason Gorringe,, London

18 October 2019

Ireland's Comptroller and Auditor General has released a new report on the Irish Revenue's compliance activities during 2018, and its efforts to improve how it interacts with taxpayers since a review in 2012.

According to the report, Revenue completed 461,044 interventions in 2018, yielding over EUR572m (USD622.8m).

Non-audit interventions accounted for a yield of EUR316m. The report explained that about one in four such interventions resulted in additional tax, interest, and in some cases penalties being issued. By contrast, almost two-thirds of audit interventions resulted in additional liabilities, averaging EUR84,500 per case.

The report found that it can take a considerable period of time for investigations to be closed. Of 45 cases selected for review, cases were open for an average of 285 days.

The report said: "Revenue aims to carry out compliance interventions in a thorough and efficient manner, so as to minimise the burden on the compliant taxpayer and to maximise recovery of unpaid tax and duties."

The Comptroller and Auditor General said: "The length of time taken on an intervention can jeopardise the strength of a Revenue case where taxes are due following the intervention process. This is largely because a tax assessment must be raised within a specific timeframe, unless there is negligence or fraud on the part of the taxpayer."

The report said: "Revenue noted that it does not set time limits for the conclusion of cases. Its rationale is that it is committed to completing interventions as soon as is practically possible but it is also important that interventions are concluded on a sustainable and justifiable basis."

"Revenue stated that there are many reasons for delays in closing interventions including delays in dealing with correspondence both on the part of taxpayer/agent and on the part of Revenue, and appeals being dealt with by the Tax Appeals Commission. It noted that a time limit focus, while relevant, cannot be the key determinant for the close of a risk-based intervention."

In a last section of the report, Revenue set out how it has responded to various recommendations made in 2012 with positive improvements to enforcement activities and processes. In this year's report, the Comptroller and Auditor General made two recommendations, focused only on how Revenue reports figures relating to its compliance activities.

TAGS: compliance | tax | tax compliance | Ireland | interest | audit | tax authority | transfer pricing | revenue statistics | penalties

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