By Michael Gladney, Collector-General, Irish Revenue
Revenue’s primary goal is to ensure that all taxpayers and businesses meet their tax obligations in a timely fashion. To assist taxpayers in meeting these obligations we have invested in ensuring the availability of a range of electronic payment and filing options that allows them to interact with us in a manner and at a time that best suits them.
We are determined to maintain the current high levels of compliance notwithstanding the challenging economic circumstances in which businesses and taxpayers are operating. Revenue cannot and will not become a banker of last resort and expects that businesses and taxpayers, supported and assisted by their agents or tax practitioners, will continue to maintain a clear focus and organise their financial affairs to ensure that tax debts are paid as they fall due.
It is critical that businesses or individuals that are experiencing payment difficulties engage with us in a realistic way at the earliest opportunity. We are committed to engaging with viable businesses and taxpayers who want to pay their taxes but can’t in the short term and it is far easier to agree a mutually satisfactory arrangement where there is early contact rather than waiting until it is too late to avoid collection recovery activity.
Our overall approach to working with businesses and taxpayers experiencing cashflow difficulties, including in appropriate cases agreeing to phased payment arrangements, has worked well in developing and maintaining a strong voluntary compliance culture and in guiding the response to late or non compliance.
As outlined in our 2011 Annual Report, approximately 16,000 cases have an agreed phased payment plan in place with Revenue covering €113 million in tax debt. This represents an increase of some 10% on the number of arrangements in place at the end of 2010 and in excess of a 50% increase on the number at the end of 2007. This reflects positive engagement by businesses that have experienced tax payment difficulties and Revenue’s willingness to work with viable businesses to overcome those difficulties.
Revenue has published comprehensive material, for businesses and individuals experiencing tax payment difficulties on our website.