Revenue confirms it is investigating offshore tax evasion

Revenue have confirmed that they are working to identify any taxpayers who are avoiding paying taxes by using offshore bank accounts.

Mr Declan Rigney, Head of Revenue’s Planning Division, said that the work is a priority for Revenue.

The Government brought in changes in the Finance Act 2016 from May 5 this year which introduced a voluntary disclosure scheme for tax defaulters involved in offshore schemes. They said that they have since collected €84m.

Mr Rigney said: "This means that anyone who did not come forward by the May deadline now faces substantially higher penalties, publication in the Quarterly List of Tax Defaulters and possible criminal prosecution."

Since 1999, Revenue has been working with other tax authorities around the world to investigate offshore bank accounts and other offshore assets.

Mr Rigney said: "Using the large volume of data available to us, we have started an inquiry to identify and pursue those who have attempted to use offshore accounts, structures or assets to evade or avoid their tax obligations."

Daniel Sinnott, Head of Revenue’s Research, Analytics and Information Management Branch, explained how Revenue is using data analytics in their work.

Mr Sinnott said: "It works by having a ‘whole of taxpayer’ view. We use proprietary software to match the data that we receive from other tax administrations to Revenue’s taxpayer records, then cross-check against prior returns to ensure all relevant income and assets have been declared.

"We also feed the data into our social network analysis and anomaly detection tools, to highlight suspicious cases. Then, as we begin to carry out risk based compliance interventions, we use the results of our interventions to train machine-learning models that further refine our ability to recognise and target the riskiest cases."

Mr Rigney said that “Revenue is also aware of, and is actively examining, the information and revelations from 'The Paradise Papers'.

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