Almost 45 million cigarettes worth €23.5m were seized in 2016 while nearly 400,000 litres of fuel were confiscated, according to the Revenue’s annual report.
Almost 6,000 raids led to the recovery of 1,700kg of drugs with a street value of €30m, while more than 71,000 counterfeit goods such as watches and clothing were taken in by the authorities. Just under 1,600 vehicles were seized.
There were 73 separate cash seizures, mainly at airports and ports, amounting to just under €1,000,000. Calls made to a confidential number to report illegal activities resulted in seizures of about 50,000 cigarettes, 12kg of tobacco, and hundreds of litres of beer and wine.
The Revenue touted one of the biggest successes by authorities following a raid in Northern Ireland resulting in the seizure of 26,000 litres of illicit fuel. A further 14 tanks of the same fuel were seized subsequently in a joint north and south operation at Belfast and Dublin ports, bringing the total quantity taken by the authorities to 390,000 litres.
“The co-operative approach deployed in this international operation has ensured the illegal activities of a significant organised crime group have been successfully foiled,” the Revenue report said.
Almost all taxes and duties showed significant increases including corporation tax, which was up 7% gross to €8.2bn. Capital acquisitions tax, also known as inheritance tax, raised €419m while the local property tax raised €468m. Stamp duty raised €1.2bn. Almost two-fifths of corporation tax was paid by 10 companies, Revenue said.
Net corporation tax receipts rose in 2016 to €7.35bn, an extra yield of €480m compared to the previous year. There were 17 criminal convictions for tax evasion last year and a further 31 cases are before the courts, while the yield from audits and interventions came to €555m. Chairman Niall Cody said the €47.95bn Exchequer receipts in 2016 were almost 1% higher than 2007, when €47.5bn was collected.
Of the downward trend of illegal cigarettes, which was down from 12% to 10% last year, he said: “Tobacco smuggling and associated illegal activity pose significant threats to the Exchequer and to compliant businesses. The downward trend is encouraging, but we are not complacent. Tackling the illegal tobacco trade will continue to be a high priority for Revenue.”
Trade group Retailers Against Smuggling said the continued problem showed the Government needed to provide more resources to combat smuggling, particularly in light of Brexit.
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