The taxman collected €160m less from audits last year, with Revenue conducting 1,400 fewer audits during 2010, according to The Sunday Business Post.
New figures show 11,008 audits were carried out last year, down from 12,404 in 2009 – a fall of 11%. The amount of money collected fell by 27% to €435m from €600m in 2009.
Taxation experts attributed the declines to a loss of expertise in the Revenue because of reduced headcount and the fact that audits now take longer to conduct because of their increased complexity.
Although audits declined, the number of assurance checks (which precede an audit) increased substantially to 455,000. These checks are normally prompted by a change in company filings, such as a substantial change in turnover.
The figures also show 5,000 fewer enforcement procedures were carried out in 2010. The number of taxpayers subjected to solicitor or sheriff enforcement was 6,000 less than in 2009 and 10,000 less than in 2007. However, the number of prosecutions for serious evasion rose 25% to 167 last year.
Brian Keegan, director of taxation at Chartered Accountants Ireland, attributed the trends to:
- More targeted selection methods for audits
- Few taxpayers
- A reduction in numbers and expertise in Revenue
- More complex audits that take longer to complete