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23/07/2021

Dáil committee chaired by Laois TD takes Revenue to task over bogus self-employed

Millions of Euro lost and workers rights hit claims PAC report

revenue commissioners

The Revenue Commissioners taken to task over the potential loss of millions

Public Accounts Committee chairperson Brian Stanley TD has launched a report which calls for an independent investigation into a special tax agreement signed by Revenue with the courier sector, which it is claimed has potentially impacted thousands of workers and lost the state millions in PRSI through bogus self-employment.

The report was launched by the PAC today and focuses on providing recommendations around bogus self-employment, a process whereby employers avoid paying tax to the state and entitlements to workers.

The Laois Offaly Sinn Féin TD issued a statement on its publication.

“The PAC has made some very strong recommendations in this report around bogus self-employment, and specifically around the role of Revenue.

“During our committee's investigation, we were provided with evidence of a special tax agreement signed by Revenue with the courtier sector at the Burlington Hotel in 1997, which made all workers in the sector de facto self-employed.

“This deal has potentially cost the state hundreds of millions over the last two decades through uncollected PRSI and thousands of workers have gone without entitlements such as sick pay, annual leave and pension contributions," he said.

Dep Stanley says the PAC has called for an independent investigation into the financial and sectoral implication of this deal signed by Revenue.

“The investigation should examine the magnitude of revenue lost to the State; the number of workers impacted by the agreement, and the financial loss to the workers.

“We want this investigation to be carried out by a firm outside of the State’s control, possibly even a firm outside of Ireland, to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest.

“Bogus self-employment is a blight upon workers’ rights which is reportedly costing the State €1b a year in uncollected PRSI.

“During our investigation we uncovered that €166m was collected through site investigations in the construction sector alone between 2016 and 2018.

“Our report calls for a substantial increase in announced site visits across all sectors, with a minimum of 4,000 per year," he said.

The Sinn Féin TD says the committee has also called for the Government to bring forward legislation to replace the existing Code of Practice to provide stronger and more comprehensive protection for workers.

“As far as the PAC is concerned, this is only the start to our examination into bogus self-employment. We will be following up with Revenue to ensure that there are no delays to establishing the requested investigation and that the terms of reference are suitable.

“The PAC will also be continuing our own examination into the matter with a focus on other sectors affected by bogus self-employment such as the media, third-level institutions and IT,” concluded the statement. 

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