Dáil Éireann - Volume 416 - 03 March, 1992
Written Answers. - Tax Evasion Penalties.
Mr. J. Higgins Mr. J. Higgins
54. Mr. J. Higgins asked the Minister for Finance if he will give details of the range of penalties applicable to cases of tax evasion using off-shore companies; if he has satisfied himself that the penalties are adequate; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Finance (Mr. B. Ahern) Bertie Ahern
Minister for Finance (Mr. B. Ahern): The tax code provides for a variety of penalties, including fines and prison sentences, for offences connected with tax evasion in whatever way it is carried out. These penalties apply generally including evasion through an offshore company.
Sections 500 to 521 of the Income Tax Act, 1967, provide for a range of monetary penalties for failure to make a return of income or profits or for fraudulently or negligently making a return. Also, section 94 of the Finance Act, 1983, defines a range of “revenue offences”, some of which would be committed where a person engages in tax evasion through an off-shore company. Fines ranging up to £10,000 and prison sentences of up to five years may be imposed for such offences. The defined offences include failure to supply information, failure to produce records or aiding and abetting such acts.
As I indicated clearly in my budget speech on 29 January, tax evasion is of concern to me and the Government.  Considerable action has already been taken in recent years to tackle the problem. In the budget I announced new initiatives designed to ensure maximum use of the staff resources of the Revenue Commissioners in the continued drive for better collection and enforcement of taxes and detection of evasion.
The forthcoming Finance Bill will contain a number of further measures to strengthen the hand of the Revenue in pursuit of tax evaders. Their powers to seek information from taxpayers, their agents and third parties will be strengthened. Penalty provisions are also being reviewed. Currently these issues are being considered in the context of the Finance Bill and I cannot at this time give details of any of the specific measures being considered.
Dáil Éireann 416 Written Answers. Tax Evasion Penalties.