Dáil debates

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

4:00 pm

Photo of Michael NoonanMichael Noonan (Minister, Department of Finance; Limerick City, Fine Gael)

I thank Deputies Mac Lochlainn and Doherty for raising this matter. I believe it would be entirely inappropriate for me to comment on any alleged or perceived dispute between Revenue and an individual taxpayer or business. For reasons of taxpayer confidentiality, Revenue cannot disclose details of or comment publicly on the specific affairs of any individual business or taxpayer, which is entirely appropriate. I also believe that intervention by me in a dispute between Revenue and a particular business or taxpayer would not be appropriate.

It is a long standing convention that the Minister for Finance does not intervene in matters of dispute between Revenue and an individual taxpayer. In that context, I remind the House of the provision at section 101 of the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 2011 enacted last year by the Oireachtas which provides for the independence of the Revenue Commissioners in the performance of its functions.

Revenue plays a critical role in securing and delivering a significant part of the financial resources required by Government to provide services and facilities for all our citizens. A delay in collection of the revenues due impacts on the level and timeliness of financial resources available to Government. It also facilitates those who withhold tax and PRSI payments and use those moneys to improve cash flow to gain an unfair competitive advantage over tax compliant competitors. The primary goal of the Revenue Commissioners is to ensure that all taxpayers and businesses meet their tax and customs obligations in a timely fashion. It expects that taxpayers and business organise their financial affairs to ensure that they pay their tax and PRSI debts on time. In this regard, Revenue promotes and supports voluntary compliance by facilitating taxpayers and businesses in meeting their obligations in as easy a way as possible through the provision of a quality customer service.

I am satisfied that Revenue approaches the task of securing the collection of the critical taxes and duties payable to the State in an efficient manner. Internationally, Ireland is among those countries that make it easiest for taxpayers to pay their taxes. Revenue is very conscious of the difficult economic and financial climate that prevails and of the challenges for business in being timely compliant. Since the start of the economic downturn, Revenue has responded by actively encouraging businesses experiencing particular payment difficulties to work proactively with them when such difficulties start to arise. This approach is designed to facilitate the identification and development of an agreed approach between Revenue and the businesses concerned to those difficulties so as to quickly restore voluntary timely compliance. Revenue has developed an administrative framework to manage such cases, and has published on its website comprehensive material and guidance for businesses experiencing tax payment difficulties. I am aware that tax practitioners and representative bodies have acknowledged Revenue's very positive efforts in this regard.

Revenue will endeavour to work with a viable business towards resolving the issues giving rise to default in making its tax payments. It has worked successfully with thousands of businesses over the past number of years in addressing such difficulties, thus saving further thousands of jobs that would otherwise have been lost. I am advised by Revenue that crucial to the success of its approach is meaningful, realistic and early engagement by the business or taxpayer concerned.

Comments

Anne Frawley
Posted on 29 May 2012 1:09 am (Report this comment)

How is the Revenue acting independently when it permits UK suppliers ship goods into Ireland exempt of vat on behalf of UK Multi nationals and for the docs for those goods to be sent within the same jurisdiction to the UK HO of the multi national.? It is not the business of Revenue to cater for the administrative needs of an UK multi national. Neither is it the business of the Revenue to apply a procedure that "constitutes" interference in the market place so as to materially effect negatively other competitors in the domestic field. I note the Minister is quick to tell us that the Revenue can not disclose individual details I will settle for what percentage of all intra community supply goods that arrive in Ireland via an UK supplier who has shipped the goods in exempt of vat for an UK multi national and sent the docs to the UK HO of the Multi national are individually monitored? what percent of those docs in their onward movement take on the persona of B2B invoices? transfer invoices? , are treated to excessive exchange rate charges? financial regulation 8
Can the Minister explain how this is fair competition?

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