Written answers

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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151. To ask the Minister for Finance the number of cases and type of enforcement carried out by the Revenue Commissioners in enforcing compliance with solid fuel carbon tax for each year since 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22291/22]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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Solid Fuel Carbon Tax (SFCT) is an excise duty that applies to coal and peat when first supplied in the State for use as a fuel. SFCT rates effective from 1 May 2021 to 30 April 2022 are listed in the table below along with rates effective from 1 May 2022.

Solid Fuel Category SFCT rate per tonne from 01/05/2021 to 30/04/2022 SFCT rate per tonne from 01/05/2022
Coal €88.23 €107.98
Peat Briquettes €61.42 €75.17
Milled Peat €30.44 €37.25
Other peat (incl. sod turf) €45.65 €55.87
SFCT rates are proportional to the carbon dioxide emissions of fuel when combusted. Coal, with the highest carbon dioxide emissions, attracts the highest rate of SFCT. The tax legislation which is administered by Revenue does not differentiate between smokeless, low smoke and smoky fuels. The Deputy may wish to note that regulation of air quality standards on solid fuel is the subject of separate legislation which falls under the remit of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and such standards on fuels (including restrictions on the sale of smoky fuels) are enforced through local authorities under that law.

I am advised by Revenue that SFCT is collected on a self-assessment basis and compliance with the law is enforced using the full range of compliance interventions and enforcement provisions for self-assessed taxes. SFCT is payable by a taxable person who makes a first supply of solid fuel in the State. Every supplier who intends to make a first supply of solid fuel in the State must register with Revenue for the purposes of the tax. Registered suppliers must assess their SFCT liability and make a return and payment on a bi-monthly in arrears basis.

As with all self-assessed taxes Revenue utilises a suite of compliance and enforcement activities in its administration of SFCT. Compliance interventions and audits are undertaken on a risk-assessed basis and SFCT issues may be examined as part of cross tax head checks. Under SFCT law Revenue may impose fines for non-compliance with obligations regarding SFCT registration, returns, filing, and payments. During the years 2017 – 2021, Revenue completed 86 compliance interventions amongst such taxpayers in relation to Solid Fuel Carbon Tax. Details of these interventions are given in the table below:

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 Total
Intervention Type
Appraisal 5 16 4 4 2 31
Aspect Query 16 6 12 11 6 51
Audit 1 1 2
Profile Interview 1 1 2
Interventions 21 24 17 15 8 1 86
Yield €1,805 €8,615 €204,560 €214,980

In addition to these interventions, Revenue may also refer any SFCT debts for enforcement action where a supplier fails to pay the amount due. This can include sheriff enforcement, civil proceedings through the courts or attachment of third parties. I am advised that since 2017 Revenue has enforced debt to the sheriff only, the details are in the following table:

SFCT Sheriff Enforcement

Year No Value
2017 26 € 230,261.30
2018 8 € 29,398.55
2019 5 € 40,301.85
2020 0 € -
2021 0 € -
2022 0 € -
Total 39 €  299,961.70

I am further advised that Revenue has several cases currently under review for possible enforcement action. 

I am further advised that up to February 2020, Revenue staff participated in a number of “joint operations” within Low Smoke Zones in conjunction with Local Authorities’ solid fuel inspection teams, with a view to checking for compliance across several tax headings, including SFCT. In addition, an SFCT compliance module was included in Revenue’s Mineral Oil Tax national compliance project. These projects, along with many other field-based compliance activities, have been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions since mid-March 2020. 

In circumstances where there are grounds to believe that tax due has not been declared and paid by the taxpayer, Revenue investigates fully and collects any unpaid tax, together with any interest or penalties due. Members of the public and solid fuel traders who suspect, or have evidence, that untaxed solid fuel is being sold in their area should report any information to Revenue by contacting Revenue’s Confidential Freephone 1800 295 295.


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