Ireland: Pursuit of tax debt delivers €43.4m return for Revenue
17 February 2015
Posted by: Author: Gordon Deegan
Author: Gordon Deegan (The Irish Times)
Tax authorities paid a total of €5.3m to outside legal teams in 4,348 Revenue cases
Cases taken by external solicitors employed by the Revenue Commissioners in the courts to pursue tax debts last year yielded €43.4 million for the State last year.
New figures released by Revenue show that the money yielded by such actions represents a 13.3 per cent increase on the €38.3 million yield.
A total of 4,348 Revenue cases were taken by outside solicitors in 2014 on the back of 5,164 referrals involving aggregate sums of €144.4 million. This compared to 4,232 cases concerning 5,335 referrals worth €194.7 million in 2013.
A spokeswoman for Revenue said its own solicitor’s office engages counsel in a wide variety of areas, including the confirmation of penalties and bankruptcy of individuals along with the defence of judicial reviews and other proceedings against Revenue.
In total, the Revenue last year paid external solicitors and counsel €5.3 million with six firms sharing €4.27 million.The figures are down on the comparative sums for 2013, when the top six firms shared fees of €5.34 million out of a total Revenue spend of €7.34 million.
The firm securing most Revenue business this year was Ivor Fitzpatrick, which received €1.078 million. Others among the top six were: Lavelle, which secured legal fees of €787,594; Holmes O’Malley Sexton which was paid €731,208; Mason Hayes Curranwhich got €632,220; Pierse & Fitzgibbon which did business worth €594,672 and Matheson, which received €452,368.
Ciaran Ramsey SC was the barrister topping the table for fees to that group, receiving €118,017 for the year.
The contract to provide legal debt enforcement services runs for five years and is carried out by six legal firms with different geographical areas of responsibility. The current contract was publicly tendered in 2009 and expires at the end of this year. The contract costs on average around €4.5 million per annum.
A working group comprising representatives of the Department of Finance, Department of Public Expenditure and the Revenue Commissioners concluded in a study that the employment of external solicitors for the enforcement of the recovery of tax debtrepresented good value for money.
This article first appeared on irishtimes.com.