Committee Reports::Report - Review of the Office of the Revenue Commissioners::16 March, 1989::Report


Review of the office of the Revenue Commissioners


At a meeting on 2 September, 1987, the Committee agreed to undertake an examination

“to consider the effectiveness with which the Revenue Commissioners utilise their staff and other resources in custom control, in identifying taxpayers, in identifying their income sources and level of income and in the assessment to tax of all such income and the collection of all tax finally assessed including the enforcement of collection in cases of default and the adequacy of control in view of recent developments”.

The “recent developments” referred, in particular, to the fraudulent or attempted fraudulent encashment of cheques sent by taxpayers to the Collector General’s Office and repayment cheques issued by the Collector General, a matter which is outlined in detail of the Committee’s Report on the Appropriation Accounts for 1985 and 1986.

Following the receipt of submissions and the holding of public meetings with the Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners, the Institute of Taxation in Ireland and the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies - Ireland and a private meeting with Dr. Miriam Hederman-O’Brien, former Chairperson of the Commission of Taxation, the material received and the evidence heard was reviewed for the Committee by consultants from Coopers and Lybrand.


The resultant report from the consultants is appended to this Report. In summary, the main recommendations in the Report refer to the need for

(i)streamlining the administration of the assessment and collection of taxes

(ii)making the system more user friendly by introducing simpler forms and better communication

(iii)a taxpayers’ charter

(iv)better controls to prevent fraud

(v)the publication of Revenue practices.

In addition to the recommendations set out at paragraph 4 of the report from the consultants which the Committee endorses and formally adopts as its own report, the Committee wishes to refer to the question of the Collector General returning cheques to taxpayers whose cases had already been referred to the Sheriff. It appreciates the legal difficulties which might be encountered should cheques be retained in such instances, particularly in relation to Sheriffs’ costs and the imposition of penalties on the taxpayer. It appreciates also that the acceptance of cheques after cases have been referred to the Sheriff might discourage a taxpayer from paying tax on time and might result in further delays in collection. However, the Committee feels that the difficulties involved are not insurmountable and recommends that the current practice be reviewed and reported on to the Committee at an early date. In addition, the Committee asks that the other recommendations in the attached report be addressed as soon as possible.


The Committee would like to acknowledge its thanks to Mr. Gearóid Griffin, in particular, and to his colleague, Mr. John Butler, Coopers and Lybrand for their assistance in the preparation of this Report.

Gay Mitchell, T.D.


16 March, 1989.