Abtran receive €9.5m for LPT service

Outsourcing firm, Abtran — which operates the helpline for the Revenue’s local property tax (LPT) — has received fees of almost €10m for providing the service since 2013.

Abtran receive €9.5m for LPT service

New figures show Abtran has received fees of €1.274m for the first six months of this year and this followed fees paid to the firm of €8.23m between March 2013 and December of last year giving a total of €9.5m.

In 2014 alone, Abtran received fees of €4.65m for providing the helpline service. Abtran started with just six people in 1997 and upped that to 2,000 in 2013. The company expanded after securing the contract with Irish Water to operate its call centre.

The new figures show that Abtran was paid €660,732 by Revenue in the first quarter of 2015 and the firm was paid €614,202 by Revenue in the second quarter of this year.

That contract started in March 2013 for a period of one year with the option to extend for two additional 12-month periods up to March 2016. Abtran recently announced 100 jobs in an expansion at its IFSC offices in Dublin.

A spokeswoman for Revenue said: “The introduction of the Local Property Tax (LPT) represented the largest extension of the self-assessment system in the history of the State and a very significant administrative challenge for Revenue.

“Revenue was committed, from the outset, to ensuring optimum customer service for the owners of 1.95 million properties.

"It was anticipated that the LPT call service would have exceptional temporary pressures at particular stages during the early years of implementation of LPT and it was difficult to predict the level of contact that would arise and, consequently, the resource required to handle queries from members of the public.

"It was recognised that an additional call centre resource would be needed to supplement Revenue’s own telephone service.

“Revenue is satisfied that the external service provider has assisted Revenue in the provision of a flexible, scalable response to unpredictable and variable demand for services.

“A key aspect of the service is the Provider’s capacity to quickly scale operations up or down in response to call volumes.

“For example, the number of operators has varied from 25 up to 300 during peak periods. The advantage of the contract, from a cost perspective, is that Revenue does not have to pay to keep operators in situ beyond what is needed to handle demand at any particular time,” they added.

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