Don’t Fear the Reaper…I mean Taxman
Whilst the temperatures have plummeted in recent days (the weather outside, is indeed frightful), things are certainly set up for tax evasion investigations in Ireland. The recent push towards a further clamp down on tax evasion has been a hot topic of conversation in recent months. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan recently published his finance bill which promises a further clamp down on tax evasion and a reduced level of tolerance for these activities by closing certain loopholes currently in use. The new finance bill allows six months for getting affairs in order in terms of offshore assets which it is advised should be tidied up well before the clampdown begins in earnest.
It is reported that the Office of Revenue Commissioners will now have access to and be able to comb through an unprecedented amount of international data in order to begin this clamp down on tax evasion both on and offshore. As of next year, Revenue will have automatic access to information regarding income and assets in overseas institutions, which previously may have acted as somewhat of a loophole for Irish tax payers. Previously, there were a number of areas which were somewhat protected from this level of intense scrutiny which allowed for tax evasion to take place such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Switzerland. This, combined with the Revenue’s new increase in technology for clamping down on tax evasion that we have previously discussed, will make it incredibly difficult for tax evaders to carry on normal activities.
Previously, in order to check Irish records against those of other countries, the Revenue would have had to place a request based on existing information or concerns. The new technology being put in place by the Revenue will allow for cross referencing between Ireland and other countries for data on individual cases which may previously have been unavailable to them. This in turn will allow them to paint a clearer and fuller picture of an individual’s tax affairs and to assess patterns for any suspicious or untoward behaviours. It is expected that Irish records will be automatically cross referenced with those of over 100 other countries by late 2018. This will bring Irish systems in line with those currently being used in the United States.
Paul Rigney of Revenue has stated that there will be time for individuals to set their affairs in order as per Minister Noonan’s finance bill but warned that there will be a zero tolerance policy after this point.
“Those with offshore assets have until May 1st to make a voluntary disclosure before Revenue uses the “full rigour of the new system. This is the last opportunity for people to come forward because after that, the penalties are severe.”
Therefore it is strongly advised that these protocols are followed in order to avoid issues.
Should you require any help, guidance or advice on these or any other financial or business matters please don’t hesitate to contact us here at DCA Accountants where we will be happy to be of help.
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