Revenue Commissioners unable to say how much bogus self-employment costs exchequer

"It’s like any non-compliant activity. It’s very difficult to put an estimate on it,” Niall Cody, the Revenue chairman, said
Revenue Commissioners unable to say how much bogus self-employment costs exchequer

Revenue is “constrained” by an inability to investigate corporate structures in order to see how their employees are being categorised. File picture: Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie

The Revenue Commissioners says it is unable to estimate the amount that bogus self-employment costs the  exchequer each year.

"It’s like any non-compliant activity. It’s very difficult to put an estimate on it,” Niall Cody, the Revenue chairman, said.

Speaking at the Public Accounts Committee, Mr Cody said the issue of bogus self-employment is something the Revenue “puts a lot of effort into”.

Such employment is categorised as where a worker performs all the functions of a standard PAYE worker but receives none of the same social insurance benefits.

The issue is seen to be particularly prevalent in the construction industry, where up to 22% of employees have been estimated as being bogus self-employed. 

Non-statutory estimates regarding how much the issue costs the State with regard to lost PRSI contributions vary from €240m per year to as high as €1bn.

Mr Cody suggested that Revenue is “constrained” by an inability to investigate corporate structures in order to see how their employees are being categorised.

He acknowledged however, that such bogus employment remains an issue.

Asked about a ‘test case’ dating from June 1995 by Sinn Féin TD Matt Carthy, which saw a courier deemed to be self-employed by the Social Welfare Appeals Office, Mr Cody said he was unaware of the case in question and asked for further clarification.

Dublin activist Martin McMahon, who has campaigned against bogus self-employment for many years, has asserted that that case has been used ever since by the Department of Social Protection as a precedent for overruling appeals by those designated as self-employed who do not think they should be so.

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