State chases €135m in tax avoidance
11 February 2014
Posted by: Author: Vincent Ryan
Author: Vincent Ryan
In response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said Revenue was investigating transactions under anti-tax-avoidance legislation.
"I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that over the course of 2011, 2012, and 2013, some 77 transactions (36 in 2013) were challenged under Section 811 as tax-avoidance transactions that should be unwound so that the proper tax due was paid.
"The tax in dispute in these cases is circa €134.5m. If Revenue’s view of the transaction as a tax-avoidance transaction is upheld in the majority of cases, interest and a surcharge of 20% of the tax will become payable in addition to the tax in dispute.”
The chance of Revenue resolving the cases in the near term is slim, with nearly 450 cases already under appeal in the courts system.
"It should be noted that there are currently about 449 cases actively being pursued where Section 811 notices of opinions have issued and the tax at risk is about €200m,” Mr Noonan said.
"Currently, some six Vat cases are being challenged by Revenue under the ECJ Abuse of Practice principle. These cases involve circa €32m in Vat. All of these cases are at various stages of appeal in the courts up to and including the Supreme Court.”
Mr Noonan said he is working with Revenue to develop a method to speed up resolutions and investigations into tax-avoidance schemes.
"I know challenging tax-avoidance transactions is a priority for the Revenue Commissioners as set out in their annual corporate plan and current statement of strategy. I fully support them in this work and will move to legislate against aggressive tax avoidance schemes that the Revenue Commissioners identify and bring forward proposals to have such schemes shut down,” he said.
"In addition, the review of the tax-appeal process currently under way may result in reform proposals on tax appeals that may assist in an earlier finalisation of avoidance cases.”
This article first appeared on irishexaminer.com.