Thursday, 28 November 2019
Finance Bill (Tax Appeals and Prospectus Regulation) Bill 2019: Second Stage
Kieran O'Donnell (Fine Gael)
The two elements to the Bill are the amendment of the Act about the appointment of the chairperson of the appeals commission which appears technical in nature, and Part 3, which is the change to update the definition of EU prospectus law which also looks to be a technical point.
I would make a general point on the area of tax appeals. There has been various legislation coming through and there has been a considerable backlog in the area of appeals. It has been open to abuse where people have used it to delay decisions being made. Equally, it has been used as a tactic whereby those who want to get a resolution of their tax situation have to wait an inordinate length of time. Therefore, I welcome the fact there are extra resources going into this area.
The most important aspect of an appeal mechanism for me is that it is comprehensive and takes place in a reasonable length of time. There are many businesses put in a state of limbo until their appeal hearing is completed. In many cases, they wait an inordinate length of time. In my view, if one has appeals heard in a reasonable length of time and they are held by competent individuals, the system should be robust enough to deal with those who are looking for a quick resolution to get on with their business and, equally, to deter those who might use the mechanism as a way of deferring having to make a decision or pay a tax. I wholeheartedly agree with such a system.
The Bill deals with two particular aspects, the first of which is appointing the chairperson. I did not hear the Minister of State's speech. Has an interim chairperson been appointed yet?