The Sunday Business Post yesterday reported that the Revenue’s ongoing National Contractors Project has run into problems, as increasing numbers of contractors formally challenge Revenue assessments raised against them.
The Revenue investigation was launched last year in response to alleged tax evasion on the part of contractors and professionals working through their own companies in the technology, software and pharmaceutical industries. It started last January in the Munster region and was extended nationwide in Spring 2013.
Revenue audits had revealed that some contractor companies were claiming excessive expenses against their tax bills, with claims for motor & travel and associated home office costs in the spotlight.
Revenue then “invited” contractors to make voluntary disclosures of their tax underpayments, including interest and penalties. A significant number of contractors came forward to do so and it was once speculated that the entire project could yield up to €100m for Revenue.
However Business Editor Ian Kehoe has now revealed that a number of contractors have faced down Revenue, maintaining that their tax affairs and accounts deduction claims are fully in order.
In addition, Dun Laoghaire-based tax consultant Dermot Byrne recounted in yesterday’s paper the case of one contractor who demanded that Revenue raise a tax assessment, in order to enable him to formally challenge the assessment through the Appeal Commissioners, in line with the Revenue Code of Practice for Revenue Audit. Revenue then backed down and dropped their case against the contractor and his company.
The lesson for contractors is clear: if you feel aggrieved with Revenue’s treatment of you and your business, you can challenge them at the Appeal Commissioners.
It goes without saying that Appeals are only advisable with the benefit of professional advice. Bear in mind the old saying “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client“. But, if you don’t look after and protect your own interests, who will?
Ian Kehoe’s & Dermot Byrne’s articles yesterday can be accessed by purchasing a Sunday Business Post subscription, starting at €2.69 for a single edition.