Revenue publishes headline results for 2021
Today (06/01/2022), Revenue published preliminary results for 2021 including tax and duty collected, services provided to customers, compliance rates and yield from risk focussed interventions. Also published today is information on Revenue’s continued delivery of critical Covid-19 Government supports to businesses affected by the pandemic, Local Property Tax statistics for 2022 and key customs related information following the UK’s exit from the EU.
Commenting on the results, Revenue Chairman, Niall Cody, said:
“The provisional statistics we have published today show that, on a number of fronts, 2021 was an exceptional year for Revenue. The on-going pandemic led to further economic and social disruptions during the year, with significant public health restrictions impacting many business sectors. However, despite this, there was a strong economic performance resulting in record tax receipts. Revenue collected €67.5 billion in taxes and duties for the Exchequer, as well as over €17 billion on behalf of other Departments, Agencies and EU Member States.
Notwithstanding the challenging and uncertain business environment arising from the on-going pandemic, overall timely compliance rates for 2021 remained strong. We thank businesses, individual taxpayers and tax practitioners for their positive engagement during the year and for their efforts in ensuring a continued culture of strong voluntary compliance, despite the difficult challenges many are facing.
Like many organisations across the country and globally, we have adapted to new ways of working. For example, we have developed new processes and guidelines for conducting risk management interventions in a remote working environment and 2021 saw a record yield of €1.38 billion from these intervention programmes. We also secured 6 criminal convictions for serious tax evasion and fraud, published 80 tax settlements in the List of Tax Defaulters and settled 125 tax avoidance cases yielding €11.7 million. Our work in tackling smuggling and other illegal activity continued to be a priority focus for us, resulting in the seizure of over 60 million cigarettes valued at approximately €43.5 million and over 5,700 kilos of drugs with an estimated value of almost €115 million.”
Commenting on the updated Local Property Tax (LPT) statistics for 2022. Mr. Cody said:
“Following the enactment of legislation last July that changed how LPT operated we put all the necessary measures in place, including system changes, an updated online property valuation guide and a comprehensive communication campaign, in advance of the new valuation period which began on 1 November 2021. The return compliance rate for LPT for 2022 currently stands at 81%, while the payment compliance rate is 91%. Payment of the Local Property Tax for 2022 is due by next Wednesday, 12 January. I strongly encourage property owners who haven’t yet paid or made arrangements to pay or haven’t already filed their LPT return to do so now.”
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a major impact on citizens, employers and businesses alike. Commenting on Revenue’s delivery of critical Government supports as part of the national response to the global pandemic, Mr. Cody said:
“Throughout 2021, Revenue continued to play a significant role in the delivery of key supports to individuals and businesses impacted by Covid-19. In 2021, over €4.6 billion was paid under the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme to 47,600 eligible employers in respect of 628,000 employees.
The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme provided further support to businesses significantly affected by Covid-19 public health restrictions, particularly in the first half of last year when large parts of the economy were closed. In 2021, 21,300 businesses received subsidy payments totalling over €470 million in respect of 24,500 premises under the scheme.
The Debt Warehousing Scheme permits Revenue to park VAT and Payroll tax debt arising on foot of Covid-19 related restrictions as well as self-assessed income tax debt and Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme overpayments. During 2021, the scheme was extended to cover Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme overpayments and tax liabilities of certain self-assessed income taxpayers with employment income. At present, more than 100,000 businesses and individuals are availing of the scheme in respect of just over €2.9 billion of tax debt.
With the lifting of public health restrictions on a phased basis last summer, along with the extremely high Covid-19 vaccination uptake amongst our citizens, we began to see the economy recover and businesses were trading without the support of the Covid Restriction Support Scheme. However, the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has brought further disruption to businesses, in particular those in the hospitality sector such as bars, restaurants and hotels as well as indoor entertainment venues. For these businesses, we have reopened the claim portal for the Covid Restriction Support Scheme. Additionally, such businesses will be able to continue to avail of the Debt Warehousing Scheme for the first quarter of 2022, and we will be issuing updated guidance to reflect this shortly.”
The UK’s exit from the EU fundamentally changed the trading environment between Ireland and Great Britain. Commenting on Revenue’s continued focus on helping businesses in adjusting to the Customs requirements that apply to such trade, Revenue Commissioner and Director-General of Customs, Gerry Harrahill, said:
“In the run up to 1 January 2021 the focus was very much on supporting and preparing businesses, haulage and logistic firms and customs agents for the UK’s departure from the EU. We invested in additional staff and our ICT infrastructure to meet the challenge of the UK becoming a ‘third country’ with an agreement that was only finalised on 24 December 2020.
From a very slow start, trade volumes with the UK gradually increased over the course of 2021 and compliance with requirements improved as the year progressed. Over the past 12 months we continued to engage with and support businesses, large and small, who are trading in goods with the UK in meeting their customs obligations. In the first quarter of the year in particular, challenges arose for both ourselves and our fellow State agencies, DAFM and the HSE, as well as trade and the logistics sector, as long-standing supply chains were permanently disrupted and collectively we all adjusted to the changed trading environment. We were able to streamline certain processes and optimise the approach across the relevant State agencies, informed by our intensive and very positive engagement with businesses and trade representative bodies.
Looking at the full year data, 86% of all freight vehicle movements from Great Britain into Ireland were green routed on arrival meaning they passed freely through the relevant port without the need for any additional interaction with Revenue or any other State agency. 11% were orange routed meaning the goods needed a documentary check or similar control and 3% were red routed meaning there was a requirement for a physical examination or inspection of the goods. It is simply a reality of trading with Great Britain that certain types of goods now require a mandatory check.
The pandemic accelerated the growth in ecommerce which, along with new EU VAT rules that came into effect in July, has seen an exponential growth in the number of customs declarations processed. 2021 saw a fourteen-fold increase in all types of customs declarations processed, with 1.8 million processed in 2020 increasing to 25.4 million processed in 2021. On 30 November last, we processed a record breaking 300,000 import declarations alone.
The UK Government temporarily suspended the introduction of new import requirements that would have applied to Ireland-Great Britain trade from 1 January 2022. Businesses are strongly encouraged to make sure that they are familiar with and ready for the implementation of these changes when the temporary suspension is lifted. Revenue will continue to work collaboratively with trade and businesses in that regard.”
Mr. Cody concluded by saying:
“2021 was another extraordinary year not only for our country but also for Revenue as a tax and customs administration. The flexibility, resilience and professionalism of our people has been paramount in our ability to continue to provide essential Revenue services. I would like to thank all Revenue staff for their on-going hard work.
It is clear that we will need to continue to live with the challenges of Covid-19 for the foreseeable future. We will continue to work closely with our colleagues in the Department of Finance and play our part in administering the relevant Government schemes and measures to support individuals and businesses impacted by the pandemic.
We will also continue to focus on protecting the health and ensuring the safety of our staff and their families and on sustaining high levels of service to our customers and an effective compliance response to identified risks. We will support business and trade as they adjust to the UK Government’s import requirements. We will also continue to support the Department of Finance in relation to the evolving and complex international tax agenda.
We continue to develop, evolve and refine our structures, not only to optimise our effectiveness as a tax and customs administration but to also put us in a strong position to adapt quickly to the ever-changing environment in which we operate. We are focused on meeting the challenges that face us in 2022 and beyond."