The Revenue Commissioners have recently published their annual report for 2021.
The report shows an exceptional year for turnover. A record amount of taxes and duties were collected. despite the major economic disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the major shift in trade relations between Ireland and the UK.
The tax authority has also completed an overhaul of the local property tax (LPT) system by introducing an updated assessment period, the first reassessment since the introduction of the LPT in 2013. Additionally, they continued to play an important role in providing Covid-19 support to businesses across the country.
Net Treasury revenue of 67.5 billion euros increased by 20% compared to 2020. According to Revenue Chairman Niall Cody, in his commentary, the high timeliness rates for all taxes reflect a general acceptance of the importance of timeliness in taxes and duties.
He went on to say that they also show the positive engagement of taxpayers and tax practitioners over the year and their contribution to a strong culture of voluntary compliance, despite the challenges faced by many.
Brexit continued to pose challenges, particularly at the start of 2021, to cope with the significant increase in the level of customs activity. Since January 1 last year, goods that once moved freely between Ireland and the UK are now subject to customs rules. These new trade rules are the biggest change for businesses in the 30 years since the creation of the single market. To put this into context, the tax authorities processed 27.1 million import declarations in 2021, compared to just over 1 million in 2020.
The updated LPT regime has seen a substantial level of engagement and compliance from owners ahead of the November 1 deadline in 2021, which has continued into 2022 with compliance rates returning for this year to 90% and 95% payment compliance.
Also in 2021, the tax office continued to make improvements to its online and digital services to make things more accessible and faster for taxpayers. More than 463,800 compliance interventions were carried out, for a record amount of €1.388 million, as well as a total of €30 million from tax settlements with 86 taxpayers.
The efficient collection of taxes and duties remains the main role and objective of the tax authorities. To this end, the stated objective is to strengthen the resources currently in place to continue to deliver the core business by investing more in people and increasing access to and use of real-time data. While the 2021 numbers broke records, revenue activity levels are expected to increase going forward to deliver similarly strong results this year and in the future.
• Siobhan Healy is a tax advisor at FDC