Revenue get serious

The Revenue are becoming increasingly proactive in chasing potentially non-compliant landlords by sending staff out into the field to identify buy to let properties that have not been registered with with the  Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).

There are possibly thousands of these properties around the country and by cross-checking  claims for rent relief from tenants, PRTB registrations, information on rent subsidies from the Health Service Authority, the Department of Social Protection, and data from local authorities on who has paid the second-homes tax, tax compliance can be checked. Read more about this here

This is the beginning of the type of “joined up thinking” which many commentators have called for from our so-called “information society”. Other areas being targeted are cash business’s such as fast food take-aways and market / festival stalls. Also wholesalers are now required to to keep records that identify their customers even if goods are supplied on a “cash docket”.

The Revenue Commissioners continue to flag in advance their intentions, and those should be carefully noted and considered. The simple truth is that tax compliance is the long term aim of Revenue and as the economy adjusts to the new reality, efforts will continue to bring everyone into the tax net.

The technology that has transformed society and business in general is now being harnessed by government. Just look at how the Revenue have successfully introduced ROS. Now most tax returns and payments can only be handled online.

If the same efficiency can be embraced in other areas of the Revenue, and also to other departments, AND is “joined -up” there will be no place for the tax evader to hide! Easy Business provides peace of mind, by helping the start up business to become and remain tax compliant. We can also help those who are perhaps a little behind in their returns and payments to the Revenue to become compliant once again. For the established sole trader or company who is already fully compliant with Revenue, Easy business can help maintain  this as part of their normal terms of engagement, always at an competitive and affordable price.

On sign up Easy Business will review all compliance matters and take appropriate action where necessary. A couple of years ago the chairman of the Revenue Commissioners, Josephine Feehily was interviewed on radio the day after the Grand National, and told the nation that she had backed the winner “Comply or Die” There was irony in this because she followed this by stating in no uncertain terms that, while the name of the the horse should not be taken literally, there was nevertheless a message that fitted neatly into her plans into the future. Be warned and be prepared. The Revenue are out hunting and gathering

Sao Paulo at night

Is it time to introduce an Irish version of the Brazilian “Nota fiscal” to combat the black economy and plug the hole in our public finances?

In Sao Paulo State in Brazil, if a trader does not provide customers with a nota fiscal, he will be considered to be a criminal.

Strong stuff….but read on

Certain economic sectors throughout São Paulo were identified as needing help in order to decrease both tax evasion and unfair competition. After studies were completed, a project was developed to incentivise consumers to require the issuance of a Nota Fiscal (billing document) at the time of purchase.

Legislation introduced in 2007 provides for rebates and credits against ICMS tax paid (the equivalent of VAT) in the State of São Paulo.

To participate, the consumer must request the tax document at the time of purchase and provide their CPF or CNPJ (taxpayer identification numbers) to have a right to the credits and qualify for possible rewards.  So that the credits are generated, commercial establishments must complete the electronic registration of the tax document in the Nota Fiscal Paulista system. Then the Finance Department of the State of São Paulo system completes the calculation of the appropriate entitled credit.

The program's objectives were to:

1.   Incentivise the population to request a tax invoice for every transaction. Previously, consumers did not feel compelled to ask for a Nota Fiscal, since they received no direct benefit or gain.

2.   Reduce the prevalence of the “black economy” and sale of smuggled and illicit goods

 3.   Generally reduce tax evasion.


Benefits to the consumer are in the form of a rebate of tax through a combination of the following:

a.   Transfer to a bank account

b.   Transfer to another person e.g. family member

c.   Credits against other taxes e.g. income taxes

d.   Charitable donation

In addition a proportion of the tax collected is reserved in a “lottery” and distributed in prizes to taxpayers as well as donated to charity. (For example money has been credited to the famous Cancer Hospital of Barretos to build a molecular biology laboratory for cancer research.

The Nota Fiscal Paulista (NFP) project would not have been possible without the intensive use of technology.

 Since the project targets public citizens, NFP is Internet-based for easy accessibility by citizens.  Because of this, one of its requirements is high availability (24 hours a day, seven days a week), with the ability to support a large number of simultaneous connections. A peak of approximately 12,000 simultaneously active users has already been observed. To access the site, the consumer logs in and can consult the documents issued in their name (within a time frame of up to five years), donate received credits, request deposits in a current account, register claims against suppliers (generally for not registering tax documents in the system) and view tickets and awards received in the scope of raffles organized by NFP.

Credit of up to 30% of tax paid is not unusual.

Would it work here?

Could Irish citizens get used to quoting their PPS number every time they buy a takeaway pizza, the weekly groceries or a pair of shoes or a pint of Guinness? Would your window cleaner give you a “nota fiscal”?

Is our so called smart economy ready for such an initiative?

It has been successful in Brazil and could work here if we wanted.

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