Revenue's seizures of illict fuel, cigarettes, tobacco and drugs

Revenue officials at a checkpoint with gardaí in West Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Revenue secured more than €222 million last year from audits and investigations along with €34 million in seizures of illicit drugs and tobacco but said there was strong compliance across the board by taxpayers.

In its annual report from 2019, Revenue said it collected total gross receipts of €84.2 billion including almost €16 billion in non-Exchequer Receipts collected on behalf of other Government departments and agencies.

Exchequer receipts of €58.3 billion, was up 6.7% on 2018 with Revenue stating there was a 98% compliance rate for medium-sized businesses with 97% compliance rate for Local Property Tax last year.

In relation to non-compliance, Revenue said it yielded €547.6 million from audit and compliance interventions, €222.6 million from audits and investigations and €325 million from non-audit interventions. A further €29 million was secured, including interest and penalties, arising from settlements in 127 tax avoidance cases along with €58.7 million in tax settlements that were agreed with 186 taxpayers.

Revenue secured 15 criminal convictions for serious tax and duty evasion along with 679 convictions and fines amounting to €2.8 million in respect of a range of summary offences and €2.8 million from 704 penalties for non-filing of returns.

A number of seizures were also made by revenue officials including 10,279 drug seizures valued at €23.6 million, 13.4 million cigarettes and 3,564kgs of tobacco valued at €8.6 million and €2 million respectively. Almost 100,000 litres of illicit fuel was seized and 52 cash seizures amounted to €809,896.

Last year Revenue launched a new tobacco tax stamp as part of its wider strategy to combat the supply and sale of illegal cigarettes.

Revenue chair Niall Cody said have taken a range of actions to assist businesses experiencing cash flow and trading difficulties due to Covid-19. these include suspending all debt collection and the charging of interest on late payment for the VAT periods covering the first six months of 2020. These deferred payments amount to €1.5 billion up to the end of May. 

“Revenue will continue to work closely with the Minister for Finance and his Department in the development and implementation of measures that support businesses to resume trading, ensure the collection of the taxes and duties due to the State and assist in the overall national recovery," he said.

In relation to the UK’s departure from the EU, Mr Cody stressed that “Revenue continues to be strongly focused on supporting and helping businesses to be ready for the significant changes and impacts of the UK’s exit from the EU which will take full effect in just six months time. Businesses really need to make sure that they use the short time still available before the end of the year to be ready for the change.”

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