Revenue targets accounts of 2,000 suspected tax dodgers

REVENUE officials have targeted up to 2,000 suspected tax dodgers hiding money in offshore accounts as part of a major probe using tougher powers.

Investigators are trawling through transactions and lodgements made into banks in five foreign tax havens.

Using powers put into law last year, Revenue is checking for transfers of over €5,000 put into institutions dating back 12 years.

High Court orders have been obtained against clearing banks in Ireland — those permitted to transfer money offshore — ordering them to release details of foreign lodgements to the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Josephine Feehily, the Revenue Commissioners chairwoman, yesterday said the probe was the biggest investigation being carried out by her office this year.

Speaking to the Dáil Public Accounts Committee, Ms Feehily said that the power of getting court orders on transactions for individuals going back 12 years, who think they had escaped, was “colossal”.

Committee members were told 1,500 letters have been sent to individuals following court orders and another 500 would be sent by the end of the year.

Revenue also clawed back €13.5 million from banks and banking executives who failed to comply with their tax obligations.

Following a bank audit, up to 300 bank directors and executives were probed on their tax compliance.

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