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THE BLACK ECONOMY

Taxi drivers, ethnic shops, ebay sellers, market stall holders, fast food outlets and couriers are among those being targeted by the Revenue in a crackdown on the now burgeoning ‘shadow’ economy, according to The Sunday Business Post.

Presumably, the black economy is no longer a PC way to describe the nixer state?

The Revenue says tackling tax cheats will become a major priority over the next four years as income taxes rise and welfare is slashed during the recession. The taxman received new powers in this area earlier this year but will be looking for even more in the forthcoming Finance Act.

“Non-compliance is always a challenge for Revenue administration but, in periods of recession, this challenge grows,” the Revenue said. “The shadow economy will grow unless there is a very strong and visible response by Revenue.”

Closer ties are being forged with the Department of Social Welfare to identify potential cheats and with companies who are willing to blow the whistle on competitors who are abusing the law and thereby gaining an unfair advantage.

“Increasingly, trade groups, which are under pressure from their members who are trying to comply with their tax duties, are prepared to share specific information with Revenue, and there is ongoing dialogue with a number of groups,” a spokeswoman said. “In particular, we are learning specific information about locations, practices and people whose tax evasion is putting others out of business in certain sectors.”

Martin Whelan of the Construction Industry Federation estimated the shadow economy in the building industry was costing the economy €350m a year.

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