Revenue Chairman appears before Public Accounts Committee

Nov 23, 2020

Revenue Chairman, Niall Cody, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee, last Thursday. The Chairman spoke of Revenue’s work in relation to Brexit preparedness and the actions of Revenue throughout the pandemic. Mr Cody responded to questions relating to bogus self-employment claims, the tone of Revenue engagement and the difficulties facing the self-employed and SME sector in meeting their tax obligations due to COVID-19.  The Committee also thanked Revenue for its efficient management of COVID-19 supports. 

Deputy Cormac Devlin noted the pressures facing self-employed individuals and the SME sector and asked Revenue to be flexible in the context of the income tax deadline of 10 December.  In response, Mr Cody stated “We have already told the tax administration liaison committee, which is where we engage with the accountancy bodies and the Law Society, that we will take a pragmatic approach on individual cases.”  Chartered Accountants Ireland under the auspices of the CCAB-I has repeatedly raised awareness of the strain facing taxpayers in meeting their tax obligations at TALC and we wrote to 220 members of the Oireachtas in October to further raise awareness of the huge difficulties facing taxpayers under COVID-19 restrictions. 

In relation to Revenue’s response to COVID-19, Mr Cody said;

“We also looked beyond our mission, which is "to serve the community by fairly and efficiently collecting taxes and duties and implementing customs controls", to see how we could use our operational know-how, technology and systems to support tax-compliant businesses.”

The investment in real-time payroll reporting was said to enable a quick re-engineer of the PAYE system in conjunction with the payroll software sector to support employers and employees through the TWSS and EWSS.

Revenue estimates that a liability in the region of €1 billion will be collected from taxpayers who received payments under the TWSS and PUP in 2020.

In relation to Revenue’s work on bogus self-employment arrangements, particularly in the meat processing section, Mr Cody noted that Revenue’s focus is on employer’s PRSI.

Deputy Jennifer Carroll MacNeill asked Revenue to consider the tone of its engagement with taxpayers who made genuine mistakes in the TWSS. 

The transcript of the Committee’s debates is available on the Oireachtas website.