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Revenue reviewed Top 100 Rich List ahead of decision to increase focus on wealthy individuals' tax affairs

The PAC was told the list proved ‘beneficial’ to Revenue.

Image: Shutterstock/Tyler Olson

THE REVENUE COMMISSIONERS reviewed the Top 100 Rich List ahead of making a decision to treble the number of individuals on their high wealth interest list. 

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Sean Fleming told the committee yesterday the Revenue Commissioners used some external resources, and cross-referenced their own list of high wealth individuals with the Top 100 Rich List, which is published each year by The Sunday Independent.

He said the list proved to be “beneficial” to Revenue. 

An additional 475 individuals have been added to the list after Revenue lowered the criteria threshold of people with net assets above €20 million. Previously, it was capped at €50 million.

Last year, TheJournal.ie reported that work had begun to focus on the tax affairs of corporations and ‘high wealth individuals’ whose worth was previously below the criteria for being monitored.

A new division has been established by the Revenue Commissioners to deal with the affairs of people and companies who could not be managed by its Large Cases Division.

The Large Cases Division was established in 2003 to provide large taxpayers with advice on their tax planning and managing their relationship with the Revenue.

In 2018, it was split into two separate units: one managing large corporations and the other managing high wealth individuals with assets above €50 million.

On the back of recommendations by the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), a decision was made in May to lower it to €20 million, therefore increasing the numbers in the audit. 

The committee was told that the individuals may not reside in Ireland, but may have a “significant economic interest” here. 

C&AG Seamus McCarthy told the committee that bringing more individuals into the fold will ensure individuals “are paying the taxes they are due to pay” to Ireland. 

“All in all it was a good day for the Irish taxpayer, a good day for the Revenue Commissioners and a good day for the Public Accounts Committee,” Fleming said yesterday. 

As part of Revenue’s work, the divisions assessing whether businesses or individuals are at risk of tax avoidance or tax evasion yielded €15.3 million from large taxpayers in 2017, €17.3 million in 2016 and €43.6 million in 2015.

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