Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance, Michael McGrath TD has again highlighted the resource issues at the Tax Appeals Commission. It follows responses to Parliamentary Questions which highlight that the number of appeals received by the Commission continues to grow in 2018 and exceeds the number of appeals closed for the year to date.
Deputy McGrath commented, “I acknowledge that much work has been done at the Commission to tackle the increasing number of appeals but it seems it continues to be hampered by the lack of resources available to it. There remains over 3,300 open appeals at the Commission amounting to nearly €1.7 billion in value. Over €1.1 billion worth of those appeals are over two years old. Between 2016 and 2018, the number of open appeals at the Commission has grown by nearly 1,700. The number of appeals received this year exceeds the number closed.
“The figures clearly show that the Government has failed to resource the Commission from day one. The resource issues were further highlighted recently when the 2017 Annual Report was laid before the Public Accounts Committee. Currently there are two permanent Commissioners and one temporary one. This means that over 1,000 cases need to be dealt with by each Commissioner while new appeals continue to roll in at an unprecedented scale. 737 new appeals have been lodged this year which means 2018 is on course to record an increase of 25% over the number received in 2017.
“Staffing levels are not the only thing hampering the Tax Appeals Commission. The Public Accounts Committee heard that adequate furniture and even external phone lines have yet to be installed in its new office meaning that hearings planned for June were cancelled and hearings planned for July were likely to be cancelled.
“The Tax Appeals Commission is a vital cog in the taxation system in Ireland and adds legitimacy and fairness to the system. Both individuals and companies need to have a mechanism whereby they can fairly, transparently and efficiently make appeals against decisions made by the Revenue Commissioners.
“While the Commission has worked hard to deal with both new and existing appeals, I do feel they are doing so with their hands tied behind their backs. I raised this issue as far back as February and the issue still persists. If the Government really want to maintain a fully functioning and efficient tax regime in Ireland it has to provide the Tax Appeals Commission with the resources in needs. The current situation cannot continue”, concluded McGrath.