Cork-headquartered outsourcing firm Abtran, which operates the local property tax (LPT) customer helpline on behalf of the State, last year received fees of €1.94m from Revenue, writes Gordon Deegan.
Since March 2013, the company, which employs more than 2,000 people in Cork and Dublin, has received over €14.4m in fees for operating the service.
The new figures from Revenue show that in the last quarter of 2017, it paid €515,000 to Abtran following a payout of €318,000 in the third quarter.
Last year, Revenue took in €477m in LPT payments, representing a compliance rate of 97%, which was in line with other years.
The decision to outsource the LPT work has been criticised by the Civil and Public Service Union (CPSU) — which has claimed that the monies being paid to Abtran, which also manages Irish Water’s call centre, is an inefficient use of public funds and represents a very poor return for money for the taxpayer as there is no skill base being built up.
A Revenue spokesman said “the volume of calls and the timing of peaks and troughs in demand, is beyond Revenue’s internal capacity. As such, the service provided by the external service provider greatly assists in the provision of a flexible, responsive and scalable solution.”
“Revenue is committed to delivering an optimum customer service for LPT and other taxes., and to achieving full taxpayer compliance.
"Despite the exceptional temporary pressures and demands for LPT telephone service, results to date have been very positive and Revenue is satisfied the engagement of an external call service support provider is appropriate
for this purpose,” he added.