The number of people resident in Ireland but registered as paying tax elsewhere increased more than five-fold between 2014 and 2019, it has emerged.
Some 31,300 individuals registered themselves as non-domiciled in the State for tax purposes in their tax returns in 2019, according to new figures from the Department of Finance. That represents a jump of 25,700 from the figure of 5,600 noted in 2014, a 459% increase.
The single largest jump in that time, however, was between 2017 and 2018 when the figure increased from 6,900 to 27,300.
The Department said that the massive jump in such tax avoidance is likely a result of “people moving to Ireland for employment purposes in anticipation of Brexit or due to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) initiatives to attract investment into the country”.
However, the Department said it is not possible to quantify the income lost to the State due to people being non-tax-resident here at present, as “this is not captured on the tax return”.
Non-domiciled tax residency is not restricted to workers with FDI concerns - one of Ireland’s richest people, billionaire JP McManus, has been tax-resident in Switzerland for the past 26 years despite living for a considerable portion of that time in Co. Limerick.
The figures are contained in a wide-ranging briefing note prepared by the Department of Finance for the Public Accounts Committee.
Meanwhile, the same note details the cost of Ireland missing its EU-mandated 2020 climate change targets as being “in the range of €63 million” due to the related penalties for missing those goals.
Ireland had been compelled to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from its 2005 levels, and to have some 16% of its energy requirements matched by renewable sources by 2020.
However, in actuality greenhouse emissions only fell by 7% against the target, with “approximately 85%” of the required progress towards the renewable energy target having been met, according to the Department.
It said, however, that any estimate of the potential penalties payable by the State for missing its 2030 climate targets are “considerably more complex”, with any projection of a total non-compliance cost likely to be “extremely speculative”.
Ireland was initially due to reduce its 2005 greenhouse levels by 30% by the end of this decade, a figure that has since risen to 42% following a European Council decision to increase the EU’s level of ambition in terms of its climate targets.