Tuesday, 23 November 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
66. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Finance the progress made by the Revenue Commissioners into allegations that tax improprieties may surround trust operations in a bank (details supplied) in Jersey; if the Revenue has reached a determination regarding whether these trusts facilitated tax evasion as distinct from tax avoidance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29849/04]
Mr. Cowen: I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that substantial progress has been made regarding this inquiry. Arising from a voluntary disclosure programme, 254 individuals came forward and made voluntary disclosures. To date this programme has recovered in excess of €105 million for the Exchequer.
Inquiries by the Revenue Commissioners have identified those individuals who failed to make voluntary disclosures. They are under investigation by the investigation and prosecution division of the Revenue Commissioners. It is clear from some of the disclosures and the amount collected to date that in some instances taxpayers used trusts to facilitate tax evasion.
Ms Burton: Will the Minister confirm that there are 59 or more individuals who have not come clean to the Revenue Commissioners with regard to these trusts? Will prosecutions follow? The Revenue Commissioners have allowed these people a great deal of time in which to come clean. The Minister has acknowledged that a number of them are guilty of tax evasion. How many are involved and will they be prosecuted?
Mr. Cowen: From its investigation and inquires, the Revenue Commissioners have identified 43 individuals holding trusts who failed to avail of the voluntary disclosure programme. The other 85% of individuals holding offshore trusts availed of that programme. The action to be taken under the tax laws is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners, in whom I have total confidence.
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