Wednesday, September 05 09:34:34
The use of attachment orders by the Revenue Commissioners has become increasingly common, netting E100 million in the last three-and-a-half years. An attachment order grants the Revenue sweeping powers to seize money owed from bank accounts and earnings on any debt of over E50,000. The orders allow the Revenue to go to a company's bank or customers to demand the tax
A spokesperson for the Revenue said attachment orders are a last resort. There seem to be an increasing number of such last resort situations or maybe it's a case of businesses pushing against Revenue that little bit too hard. There can only be one winner in these situations.
"Revenue will normally apply this enforcement method when other enforcement options have failed to result in a change in the customer's compliance behaviour or those enforcement options are very unlikely to lead to collection of the debt," said the spokesperson in a report by The Irish Examiner newspaper.
"No more than any other enforcement power, attachment is not used lightly, or frequently, and the number of attachments used to date this year, 2,519, is relatively small in the context of some 600,000 business or self-assessed taxpayers."
However, since 2009 the number of attachment orders issued each year have increased. In 2009, 3,200 attachment orders were issued, recovering E22.2m. By 2011, this had risen to 4,463 but recovered only E30.7m.
The Revenue claims it has always been prepared to enter into instalment arrangements with businesses that are fundamentally sound. However, the Revenue said businesses must commit to paying their future taxes in a timely manner.
A spokesperson said: "While Revenue will endeavour to work with a business or taxpayer towards resolving the issues giving rise to default, Revenue is not prepared to facilitate a business that continues to trade while running up an increasing level of tax debt. In such instances, enforcement action will follow promptly."