ONE in five taxi drivers are not tax compliant, according to the results of recent multi-agency checkpoints designed to target possible offences by part-time drivers.
The Revenue Commissioners revealed yesterday that 20% of cab drivers questioned during a recent checkpoint in Galway were discovered to have tax issues.
Others were in receipt of social welfare payments which they were not entitled to, given they were in receipt of income from working as a taxi driver.
The checkpoints involved Gardaí, Revenue officials and officers from the Department of Social Protection.
Norman Gillanders, assistant secretary at the Revenue Commissioners told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport yesterday that the 20% rate of non-compliance was replicated at similar checkpoints on taxi drivers in other cities around the country.
Mr Gillanders pointed out that the Revenue had a range of measures and sanctions which could be used against any taxi driver not declaring their income from taxi work for tax purposes.
Mr Gillanders said of 100 taxi drivers audited eight drivers had not filed annual tax returns. According to Revenue files, six taxi drivers said they had ceased working in the industry, while three said they had only started working as a taxi driver the previous week.
Mr Gillanders said the number of taxis on the streets disappeared once word went around that multi-agency checkpoints were in operation.
However, he welcomed the fact that Revenue has new powers to access information on taxi drivers from the Commission on Taxi Regulation as well as to share data with the Department of Social Protection.
At the meeting representatives of taxi driver groups complained that double-jobbing in the industry was having a crippling effect on the livelihood of full-time taxi drivers.
Jerry Brennan, of SIPTU’s taxi branch, said drivers were frustrated that their concerns were consistently being ignored by the Taxi Regulator, Kathleen Doyle, while there was also no appeals body available to taxi driver groups to challenge her decisions.
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