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Revenue has taken back millions from people hiding money in offshore accounts

The organisation is appealing for anyone evading tax by holding money overseas to come forward.

Image: Pexels.com

REVENUE CLAWED BACK almost €64 million from offshore accounts last year and the organisation has vowed to continue its crackdown on tax-evasion schemes.

According to the organisation’s annual report, it collected €63.6 million from 68 cases last year, up from about €25 million in 2014 and €20 million in 2013.

The way in which companies use offshore assets to evade, which is illegal, or avoid, which is legal, taxes has recently come under increasing scrutiny following the Panama Papers revelations.

The hidden offshore dealings of some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful figures were revealed after 11.5 million tax documents were leaked from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Tackling tax evasion

Revenue chairman Niall Cody today said he was keeping an eye on the Panama Papers developments, adding: “We will carefully consider how to make use of all data sources to identify any cases of tax evasion by Irish residents using offshore structures.

“We have been at the forefront on tackling evasion through offshore, (however) we would be naive to think think that there are no cases of tax evasion,” he said.

22/04/2015. Revenues Annual Report 2014. Pictured Revenue Chairman Niall Cody Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

To date, Revenue has seized a total of €2.8 billion from over 35,000 cases. Many of the cases relate to bogus non-resident bank accounts owned illegally by Irish citizens. These setups involve someone’s money being held in a bank account outside of Ireland to avoid paying taxes here.

revenue offshore 3 The total collected by Revenue from offshore assets Source: Revenue

Many of the cases which Revenue received settlements from are legacy cases which were first started over a decade ago.

New rules

In its report, Revenue said that new tax rules together with powers to source information from financial institutions and third parties would “greatly enhance our capacity to identify untaxed income and assets and help reduce the opportunities to evade tax”.

“We will be carefully considering how to make the maximum use of our data sources, employing our enhanced analytical tools to identify possible cases of tax evasion using offshore structures,” it said.

More broadly, Revenue collected €45.79 billion for the exchequer during the year, an increase of 10.6% on 2014.

This is the second-highest annual net return in the history of the state. Only 2007 was higher with a tally of €47.5 billion collected.

During 2015, compliance interventions yielded over €640 million in tax, interest and penalties, an increase of more than 5% on 2014, while €42 million was collected from 160 tax avoidance cases.

Written by Paul O’Donoghue and posted on BusinessETC, a new business publication for Irish startups and SMEs.

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