Tuesday, 23 May 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
41. Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Finance the number of tax inspectors who have been diverted to examine DIRT evasion by banking institutions; the number of tax inspectors who are currently on the ground to carry out tax audits; if he has considered concerns expressed by the Association of Tax Inspectors about the reduction in the number of tax audits possible as a result of this additional work load; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14281/00]
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that there are 36 Dublin based officers currently deployed on DIRT audits under section 904A of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997. In addition to this group, 30 audit officers based outside Dublin have been trained in DIRT audit procedures and techniques and these have been deployed for varying periods in the DIRT audit programme. The total number of outdoor staff engaged on all audits, investigations and inquiries of various kinds, including the DIRT audits, is about 380. This number includes higher tax officers who are engaged in tax audits.
It is envisaged that the main work on the DIRT audit project will be completed by the end of next month at which stage the officers involved will begin to be released back to their normal audit duties.
Revenue advises me that a priority is being given at present to the DIRT audit programme and other investigations including those into Ansbacher and various tribunal related matters. All the indications are that these inquiries have potential for significant revenue yield in excess of normal audit yield. Naturally, this prioritisation necessitates some temporary reduction in other forms of audit-investigation activity. A flexible approach in allocating resources to different elements of the audit and investigation programme from year to year is a normal part of the management of that programme.
The Revenue Commissioners have made a business case to my Department for additional resources for both audit-investigation and customer service areas. I have responded positively to this and additional resources are being put in place in consultation with the relevant trades unions. These resources will enable Revenue deal with the large increase in the volume of its busi ness and to maintain an appropriate level of audit.
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