Urgent Action Needed On Outstanding Tax Payments Of €4.3bn

Labour has called for urgent action on outstanding tax payments of €4.3 billion owed to Revenue as of 31 January, 2019.

According to Labour Finance spokesperson Joan Burton, a total of €969m is immediately available for collection and would make a significant difference to public services.

Wealth taxes of €111m are outstanding that would cover the shortfall in the capital budget in 2019 for the National Children's Hospital.

Deputy Burton said: "Figures revealed to me through a parliamentary question show that as of the end of January, there was a total of €4.318 billion of tax payments outstanding.

"The discovery of these figures raises serious questions. At present, just over €3.2 billion of tax debt is under appeal with the Tax Appeals Commission. The level of outstanding revenue is concerning as the sums involved are incredibly large, so for those involved in the appeal the stakes are high. No breakdown was available on this debt but I will be asking further questions as to where these major appeals are occurring and the reasons for it.

"A further €114 million relates to insolvency debt and this is likely to never to be recovered. No breakdown was available on this either as to what tax heads these figures relate to and I will be asking further questions to understand what is involved. I would like to know if this relates to uncollected VAT, income tax or social security payments.

"Even accounting for the sums under appeal and the amount related to insolvency, there is a significant remaining figure of €969m.

"I am concerned that of this sum, €472 million has been outstanding for over a year, with €207m of this related to income tax, and €135m related to VAT.

"Looking at the total outstanding figures available for collection, it is deeply worrying that wealth taxes such as CGT accounts for €52m and CAT for €59m. That €111m is a significant sum, equivalent to the amount needed in 2019 to fund the cost overrun on the National Children's Hospital. A further €105m of PRSI is outstanding and those are contributions that go towards funding our social safety net.

"The Minister needs to explain why such a large sum of debt can be outstanding across so many tax heads. Clearly there needs to be a significant overhaul of Revenue in order to ensure all taxes are paid as soon as possible. This is of particular importance considering the imminence of Brexit, after which the State will need to ensure it has as many resources available to it as possible.

"For example, do the Revenue Commissioners require additional resources whether in legal or professional advice or technical advice?"

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