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People from the north-west and farmers are Ireland's worst tax offenders

A new report by the RTÉ Investigations Unit digs into the tax misdemeanours of the Irish public.

THE NORTH WEST of Ireland has a disproportionate number of tax offenders compared to the rest of the country according to a new report.

The report, which saw RTÉ’s Investigations Unit trawl through 13 years worth of Revenue figures from 2002 to 2014, tallied fines of €20 million which were levied on more than 11,000 people who were convicted of failing to lodge an income tax return during that time.

taxgeog Source: RTE Investigations Unit

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By head of population, Roscommon is the county with the worst record during that time, with 671 cases per 100,000 population, closely followed by Longford (651), Leitrim (569), Offaly (541), and Donegal (536).

In terms of total convictions Dublin is naturally enough the leader (given its population size) with 2,533.

Less clear is why a far smaller county such as Donegal should come second with 864 convictions. Galway takes the bronze medal with 841.

By contrast, the southeast of the country saw the least amount of offences noted. Kilkenny was the standard bearer with just 65 tax offences committed over the 12 year period.

industrygif Source: RTE Investigations Unit

Construction was the industry which saw by far the greatest number of offences committed with 35% (3,869 offences) with the financial (16%) and agricultural (15%) industries in second and third place respectively.

Farmers are top of the naughty list of occupations when it comes to tax-related chicanery. They form 10.4% of all offences recorded during that period, some distance clear of the next occupation – company directors with 4.7%.

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occupationgif Source: RTE Investigations Unit

These two, as you might expect, paid the most in fines over the period. Farmers incurred penalties of €1.76 million and company directors paid €1.13 million.

Men dominate the list of convictions with 94.2% of the documented cases involving males. This is less surprising given the industries which dominate the lists. The women who were convicted were most likely to work as: company directors, property-landlords, farmers, publicans, and hairdressers (in that order).

taxmalfem Source: RTE Investigations Unit

Interestingly, clusters of tax prosecutions can be seen around the country with different areas appearing to be targeted in different years – Donegal for example accounted for 20% of all convictions in Ireland in 2005, and none whatsoever in 2014.

clustergif Source: RTE Investigations Unit

The original report can be read here. The interactive graphic article can be found here.

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