Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Finance
Tax Appeals Commission
168. To ask the Minister for Finance the number of tax appeals taken to the Tax Appeals Commission; the number determined; the number of cases settled before a determination was reached during each of the years 2016 to 2020 and to date in 2021, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39050/21]
In response to the Deputy’s question the following tables provide an outline of the number of appeals received and closed from 2016 to the end of June 2021 and the reason why each appeal was closed:
Appeals Received and Closed from 2016 to June 2021
|Year||No. of Appeals Received||No. of Appeals Closed|
|2021 (to end-June)||747||862|
Reason for Closures, 2016 to June 2021
|Merged / Consolidated||1||17||17||4||6||1||46|
|Withdrawn by Appellant||39||177||223||452||607||295||1,793|
*2021 figures are to end June 2021 only.
While an appeal is being progressed by the Commission, at any time before a determination is issued, the Revenue Commissioners and Appellants are entitled to negotiate with each other to reach a settlement. This can occur for a number of reasons and the Commission is not a party to those negotiations or the reason for the settlement.
As an appeal is progressed, settlements can take place when additional information, sought by the Commission in advance of a determination being issued, is revealed to both parties giving a clearer understanding of how the tax dispute was arrived at. On other occasions, the additional requirements by the Commission to progress the appeal prompt parties to begin negotiations. Settlements can be a favourable outcome for the parties saving time and legal costs. The Commission can also close the appeal without the need to hear the appeal and draft a determination.
Once a determination is used by the Commission, the parties can then only appeal to the High Court on a point of law.
169. To ask the Minister for Finance the number of customers who put funds on account with the Revenue Commissioners while tax appeals are taken to the Tax Appeals Commission during each of the years 2016 to 2020 and to date in 2021, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39051/21]
I am advised by Revenue that it is not in a position to provide the information requested by the Deputy as the data requested is not captured in a form that is readily accessible. Revenue obtains the information relating to the amount of tax that is ‘held under appeal’ from its IT systems. Outstanding tax liabilities are automatically identified by the presence of an appeal stop marker that is input to suspend the collection of the disputed tax, if not already paid, pending the determination of the appeal. Prior to an appeal being made to the Tax Appeals Commission, taxpayers can pay the amount of tax being disputed to prevent interest being applied if the taxpayer is unsuccessful in the appeal. Any protective payments made by a taxpayer are not identified as such on Revenue systems and are indiscernible from other payments made by them in a tax period. However, the records of each individual taxpayer fully reflect any payments by them.
Given the ‘point in time’ nature of the information contained in Revenue’s appeals data and other limitations, it is not possible to quantify the total amount prepaid relating to tax under appeal or the number of taxpayers who have prepaid monies that are in dispute. While Revenue has detailed information at an individual taxpayer level there is no systematic way of retrieving this information.
As the Deputy is aware, the Comptroller and Auditor General included a chapter on the Management of tax appeals in his 2019 Annual Report in which he noted that “Revenue is not in a position to quantify the total amount prepaid relating to tax under appeal ..., or how much in total was refunded by Revenue to taxpayers as a result of Revenue losing appeals”. The full chapter of the report is available at www.audit.gov.ie/en/find-report/publications/2020/2019-annual-report-chapter-14-management-of-tax-appeals.pdf.