The Revenue Commissioners have made settlements of at least €100,000 with more than 1,300 individuals whose names went unpublished over the past two years.
Last year, 666 settlements, which were not subject to publication, were made. This represented an almost identical level of unpublished settlements as in 2014, when the figure stood at 658.
Of the 1,324 settlements made but not published over the past two years, 239 were worth over €500,000.
Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath described the level of settlements over the past two years as “concerning” and called on Revenue to consider publishing major settlements anonymously.
“The ability to publicly name people who have significantly underpaid their tax is a major tool at Revenue’s disposal. In my view there would need to be a compelling reason not to publish the details of a settlement where the sum involved is over €100,000. The fact there were over 600 such cases in both 2014 and 2015 is potentially quite concerning,” said Mr McGrath.
“Revenue could enhance public confidence in the process by being more explicit as to why such information is withheld.
"It may be possible in some cases to publish details of relevant cases on an anonymised basis to reassure the public non-publication of major settlements is only done on a selective and justified basis.”
There are two main reasons why settlements are not published: Where a taxpayer voluntarily discloses the relevant information to Revenue; and cases where a “genuine” mistake has been made.
A spokesperson said: “The legislation provides that where a taxpayer has, in advance of any Revenue enquiry, voluntarily furnished complete information relating to undisclosed tax liabilities, and paid the tax and interest due, settlements or penalty determinations are not published.
“The legislation also provides that where the matter is technical and penalties are not involved, there is no provision for publication.”
While the publication of tax defaulters is a strong compliance tool, the potential for publication to be avoided through making a voluntary disclosure is a “fair counterbalancing measure”, said the spokesperson.
Revenue is not currently considering publishing settlements on an anonymous basis.
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