Revenue to add 400 staff as tax take tops €41bn

Revenue is to take on an additional 400 staff by the end of the year as it scales up its regulatory and compliance capabilities and looks to maintain its strong performance over the past number of years.

It is recruiting a broad range of roles including taxation and legal professionals, economists, data analysts, and IT experts.

Approximately 230 of the roles will replace retirees following a decrease in the Revenue’s workforce since the economic crash which has seen its workforce dwindle to staffing levels akin to 1975.

“Additional staff will be used to increase Revenue’s competent authority resource as outlined by Minister Noonan in his ‘Road Map for Ireland’s Tax Competitiveness’, to deal with developments in international tax and to strengthen our investigative, audit, and compliance resource,” a spokesperson said yesterday.

The announcement came as Revenue released its report for 2014 which showed that it recorded a near 10% increase in tax revenues last year.

The taxman garnered €41.4bn in 2014 — an increase of 9.3% on 2013 — and represents the fourth successive year-on-year increase in returns to the exchequer.

The pick-up in the residential housing market seen in the past 12 months was evident in a 26% increase in stamp duty.

Revenue chairman Niall Cody acknowledged the role played by individuals in the strong performance recorded in the annual report.

Revenue audits delivered more than €610m in payments during the year with a number of sectors proving to be very successful targets.

Close to 900 individual audits on construction activity yielded over €35m while landlord and rental audits were similarly fruitful, delivering another €22m to the State coffers.

A spokesperson for the Construction Industry Federation said it supports Revenue’s audit activities and encouraged the crackdown on the construction black market.

Any moves that continue to encourage people to pay their taxes are welcome, the spokesperson added.

Similar interventions on retailers recouped €20m with an additional €14m coming from more than 450 audits on wholesalers.

Peter Vale, a tax partner at Grant Thornton, said the figures were not overly surprising but that they represent a very good return in 2014 nonetheless.

Mr Vale said the 8.8% increase in income tax last year was particularly impressive and should continue in 2015 given the strength of the labour market.

He also indicated that the 8% jump in the Vat haul is an encouraging sign set against consumer spending, which, according to official estimates, continues to lag behind other sectors.

“I’m not sure where the disconnect between consumer spending and the increased Vat take is coming from given that rates remain stable but I would put more stock in the Vat figures than consumer spending figures.”

In 2014 Revenue secured 27 criminal prosecutions for serious tax and duty evasion. At year-end there were 64 cases in the prosecutions pipeline with a further 115 cases under investigation.

In addition, 504 criminal convictions were secured for a range of tax and customs and excise summary offences, as a result of which fines of €1.2m were imposed.

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