€70 million yield from Offshore Disclosure regime
In the Dáil last week, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan stated that over 2,300 offshore disclosures with a value of over €70 million were received by Revenue as part of the offshore disclosure regime. While €70 million is a sizeable sum, and it is a positive development that over 2,000 cases of tax evasion are being resolved, progress can be seen from the last comparable Offshore Assets campaign which resulted in settlements in excess of €1 billion being made.
We understand that Revenue will be in contact with those who made disclosures in due course in respect of further steps, if any. Revenue no longer include in their Annual Report a breakdown of the aggregate figure accruing from “legacy” investigations, but have reported amounts of €7-€8 million being recovered annually in recent years from Offshore Assets investigations. Future statistics should offer a good reflection of the efficacy of information sharing and processing by revenue authorities internationally in the absence of settlement incentives for offshore disclosures.
In response to a parliamentary question on the matter, the Minister said:
“In my Financial Statement to the House on 11 October 2016, I indicated that I would act to restrict the opportunity for tax defaulters to use the voluntary disclosure regime with effect from May 2017. In line with this undertaking, section 56 of the Finance Act 2016 provides that, as and from the voluntary disclosure deadline date, the making of a qualifying disclosure will not be possible where the tax liabilities involved relate to offshore matters.
The period during which qualifying disclosures could be made to Revenue in relation to offshore matters ended on Thursday 4 May 2017. Disclosures are still being processed and the final figure will not be available until next week. I am advised by Revenue that the number of disclosures processed exceeds 2,300, with a value of more than €70 million.
Anybody who has tax liabilities relating to offshore matters and who did not act to address them by 4 May 2017 now faces the prospect of substantially higher penalties, publication in the Quarterly List of Tax Defaulters and possible prosecution. Revenue has advised me that it is committed to making full and effective use of the considerable amounts of data on offshore accounts, structures and assets that will be available to them, through international arrangements for Automatic Exchange of Information, to pursue rigorously anybody who attempts to use such means to evade their tax obligations.”