The Revenue collected €31.9 billion in tax and duties in 2010, according to its annual report published last week and detailed in The Sunday Times.

The figure was comparable to 2003 levels but was 2.25% ahead of budget and tax debt fell 1.6% to €2 billion.

Josephine Feehily, the Revenue chairman, urged businesses and individuals to engage early with the organisation if they were having difficulty paying their taxes.

“I have said many times that we want to help viable businesses and taxpayers who want to pay their taxes but can’t in the short term,” she said. “We can and do put alternative payment arrangements in place to help such customers through difficult periods.”

However, she warned that Revenue “is not a lender of last resort”.

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