News & Media

Action needed on €4.3 Billion owed in outstanding tax payments

18 February 2019

Statement by Joan Burton TD
Spokesperson on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and the Arts

Labour Finance spokesperson Joan Burton has said that a more detailed explanation is required from the Minister regarding the volume of €4.3bn in tax payments outstanding to Revenue as of 31 January 2019. 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?”

ENDS

https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2019-02-14/25/#pq_25

Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe) by Deputy Joan Burton for oral answer on 14/02/2019 

To ask the Minister for Finance the most recent figures available for tax payments which are six months and one year in arrears; the highest amount in arrears for each tax heading; the amount of taxes outstanding as of 31 January 2019; and the amount he deems to be unrecoverable.

REPLY:

I am advised by Revenue that the total amount of tax debt at 31 January 2019 is €4,318m. However, this figure includes €3,235m of debt that is under appeal with the Tax Appeals Commission and €114m of Insolvency Debt, which is not available to Revenue to collect. 

The remaining €969m is regarded as a more accurate indicator of actual debt that is available to Revenue for collection. The breakdown of this amount includes €410m that is outstanding for less than 6 months, €87m that is outstanding for between six months and 12 months and €472m that is outstanding for longer than 12 months.

Due to the requirement to protect taxpayer confidentiality, it is not possible for Revenue to provide information on the ‘highest amount in arrears for each tax heading’ as requested by the Deputy. Revenue has however provided me with additional detailed tabular analysis of the debt available for collection position, which I am happy to provide to the Deputy.

Debt Available for Collection €m

Age of Debt

IT

DIRT

CT

CGT

PAYE

PRSI

USC

RCT

VAT

CAT

ELEVY

ATT

Total

1 Year and Over

€207

€0

€13

€31

€21

€31

€5

€7

€135

€22

€0

€0

€472

6 Months and Over

€228

€0

€15

€34

€31

€42

€7

€8

€171

€24

€0

€0

€559

< 6 Months

€119

€0

€22

€19

€52

€62

€10

€2

€90

€35

€0

€0

€410

 

Debt Available for Collection €m

 

Year

IT

DIRT

CT

CGT

PAYE

PRSI

USC

RCT

VAT

CAT

ELEVY

ATT

Total

Over 10 Years

€24

€0

€1

€7

€4

€6

€0

€3

€19

€0

€0

€0

€65

9-10 Years

€3

€0

€0

€1

€0

€0

€0

€0

€3

€0

€0

€0

€8

8-9 Years

€9

€0

€0

€5

€1

€1

€0

€0

€7

€2

€0

€0

€25

7-8 Years

€9

€0

€0

€2

€1

€2

€0

€0

€8

€1

€0

€0

€22

6-7 Years

€11

€0

€0

€2

€1

€2

€0

€0

€9

€1

€0

€0

€26

5-6 Years

€15

€0

€4

€2

€1

€2

€0

€0

€11

€1

€0

€0

€37

4-5 Years

€28

€0

€2

€2

€2

€3

€1

€0

€12

€2

€0

€0

€51

3-4 Years

€34

€0

€2

€2

€3

€4

€1

€0

€15

€3

€0

€0

€64

2-3 Years

€30

€0

€1

€5

€3

€4

€1

€0

€19

€4

€0

€0

€67

1-2 Years

€44

€0

€3

€3

€6

€7

€2

€1

€33

€10

€0

€0

€109

6-12 Months

€21

€0

€2

€2

€9

€12

€2

€1

€35

€2

€0

€0

€87

3-6 Months

€46

€0

€10

€3

€3

€1

€1

€2

€40

€5

€0

€0

€110

2-3 Months

€55

€0

€2

€7

€1

€1

€0

€0

€14

€26

€0

€0

€108

1-2 Months

€8

€0

€5

€2

€3

€2

€1

€0

€25

€2

€0

€0

€48

Under 1 Month

€10

€0

€5

€6

€45

€58

€8

€0

€10

€2

€0

€0

€145

Totals

€347

€0

€37

€52

€83

€105

€17

€10

€260

€59

€0

€0

€969

Note – Total columns may not tot due to rounding