Investigation into bogus self-employment in courier industry refused by Revenue

ireland
Investigation Into Bogus Self-Employment In Courier Industry Refused By Revenue
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Muireann Duffy

Revenue has refused to commission an independent investigation into the courier industry and bogus self-employment within the sector.

According to the Irish Examiner, the investigation was recommended by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) earlier this year regarding a deal between Revenue and courier firms in March 1997 classing courier workers as self-employed "in the interest of uniformity".

The PAC's recommendation of an investigation was not accepted by Revenue, stating it "does not have the powers to set up and commission an independent investigation", adding there is "no legal basis" to do so.

The agreement between Revenue and courier firms means workers, who are for all intents and purposes fully employed, are denied the statutory social insurance contributions which PAYE workers receive.

The PAC sought the investigation in order to assess how much revenue is lost to the State as a result of the practice and to determine the number of workers impacted and the financial cost to them.

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Revenue said the issue of what class of social insurance a worker should pay is outside its remit, adding it was a matter for the Department of Social Protection.

The PAC's chair, Brian Stanley said the refusal was "disappointing", adding if Revenue does not have the power to investigate "it may be necessary for someone else" to look into the matter.

"We have to stay on top of this, it's a huge matter for the public finances," Mr Stanley said.

However, he noted Revenue accepted three further recommendations from the PAC, including a commitment to carry out a minimum of 4,000 site visits each year to determine the level of bogus self-employment within the industry.

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