Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Department of Finance
Question 137: To ask the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 84 of 8 February 2012, in terms of State and semi-State commercial companies employing contractors, if Revenue has carried out an investigation into whether so-called contractors are in fact employees and the purpose of the contractor status is to minimise personal taxation and if he approves of this policy; his views that this facilitates tax avoidance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8309/12]
I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners, who are responsible for the collection of mineral oil tax and for tackling the illicit trade in mineral oil products, that they are acutely aware of the various illegal activities that lead to loss to the Exchequer of mineral oil tax. The most serious risk in this regard is the large scale laundering of markers from mineral oil (diesel), and the onward supply and sale of the laundered product as auto diesel. Marked mineral oil is subject to a reduced rate of mineral oil tax on condition that it is not used in road vehicles. The suggestion has been made that the present system of marking diesel for non-auto use should be replaced by one in which all diesel would be subject to the same rate of mineral oil tax, with repayment arrangements for certain users. A system of this kind would, however, give rise to additional administrative work for both the users concerned and for the Revenue Commissioners, would impose cash flow costs on users and could be open to fraud and abuse. The focus, therefore, is on strengthening the existing regime for taxing diesel at differential rates, including the implementation of enhanced licensing systems, acquiring a more effective marker, and continued robust enforcement action.