REVENUE has published preliminary results for 2020 including tax and duty collected, services provided to customers, timely compliance rates and yield from compliance and enforcement interventions.
Also published is information in relation to Revenue’s delivery of critical supports for individuals, employers and other businesses impacted by Covid-19, as well as information regarding Revenue’s support to trade and businesses in preparing for Brexit.
Commenting on the results, Revenue Chairman, Niall Cody, said: “By any measure, the context in which Revenue publishes its headline results for 2020 is unprecedented in terms of disruption and uncertainty. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a major impact on the Irish economic and social landscape, and the current business environment is in stark contrast to this time last year when we published our preliminary results for 2019.
“It is against this backdrop that Revenue collected €56.2 billion in taxes and duties for the Exchequer, as well as over €15 billion on behalf of other Departments, Agencies and EU member states.
“Notwithstanding the challenges brought about by the pandemic, overall timely compliance rates for 2020 were only marginally down on 2019. We acknowledge and say thanks for the positive engagement by businesses, individual taxpayers and tax practitioners in ensuring that a continued culture of strong voluntary compliance prevails.
“While audit and compliance interventions at a taxpayer’s premises have been suspended since March, we continued to engage with businesses to progress compliance interventions electronically via myEnquiries or by telephone. During 2020 we completed more than 378,500 audit and compliance interventions yielding over €484 million. We secured 21 criminal convictions for serious tax evasion and fraud and published 122 tax settlements in the List of Tax Defaulters.
“Our work in tackling smuggling and other illegal activity continued despite the pandemic, evidenced by the seizure of more than 48 million cigarettes worth almost €33 million and over 4,600 kilos of drugs with an estimated value of almost €45 million.”
With the onset of Covid-19, Revenue played, and continues to play, a significant role in the delivery of critical Government supports to affected businesses that help to protect lives and livelihoods.
Commenting on Revenue’s contribution to the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Cody said: “The introduction of real-time reporting for PAYE in January 2019 meant that when the pandemic escalated in March, we quickly reengineered our PAYE system, in conjunction with the Payroll Software sector, to support impacted employers and employees.
“For example, the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme provided more than €2.8 billion in support to 66,600 employers in respect of over 664,500 employees between 26 March and 31 August.
“As part of the July Jobs Stimulus package the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme from 1 September. In 2020, over €1.4 billion has been paid under the scheme to over 39,800 eligible employers in respect of 443,100 employees.
“The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme introduced in Budget 2021 supports businesses significantly affected by public health restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, 16,600 businesses are registered for the scheme in respect of 19,000 premises. Total payments made under the scheme currently stand at €146 million.
“The Debt Warehousing Scheme permits Revenue to park VAT and Payroll tax debt that arose on foot of the Covid-19 related restrictions and was recently extended to include self-assessed income tax debt and Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme overpayments. In 2020, 70,000 businesses have availed of the scheme in respect of €1.9 billion of tax debt.”
Commenting on Revenue’s continued focus on helping businesses in respect of Brexit, Revenue Commissioner and Director-General of Customs, Gerry Harrahill, said: “If the pandemic hadn’t happened the big talking point this year would have been Brexit.
“Despite the challenges of Covid -19 and its impact on key elements of our role we continued our preparations for Brexit on all fronts throughout 2020.
“During the year, we wrote to 149,000 businesses with Brexit preparatory advice and further engaged with over 14,500 businesses via telephone. Over 76,925 businesses are now registered for Customs with Revenue and have an EORI number.
“The launch of our Customs RoRo Service optimises the efficient movement and, where necessary, control of goods and vehicles when moved by ferry between Ireland and Great Britain.
“We appreciate that the new reality of Great Britain being fully outside of the EU is presenting significant challenges for trade and business and that complying with customs formalities imposes additional burdens on them. But compliance is absolutely essential to ensure that Ireland fulfils its obligations as a member of the EU and that we protect the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union.”
Commenting on Revenue’s response to the challenges presented by Covid-19, Mr. Cody said: “I am hugely proud of how Revenue responded to the pandemic.
“The flexibility, resilience and skills of our people have been paramount in our ability to provide essential Revenue services during what was an extremely challenging year.”