Belfast Telegraph

Black economy targeted in new probe

Tax inspectors are targeting cash businesses as part of a probe into Ireland's multimillion-euro black economy.

Josephine Feehily, chair of the Revenue Commissioners, said it would be foolish for a tax authority not to recognise the increased risk of tax evasion during a recession.

Auditors carried out 11,008 audits on cash businesses in 2010 resulting in a yield 434.7 million euro - with more than 60 million euro raised from 2,226 checks in the construction industry.

Examining 328 white collar professionals such as doctors, dentists, vets and solicitors, yielded another 9.4 million euro.

Ms Feehily said: "It is well known and well documented that in times of economy there is a big increase in the cash economy so that's why we're focusing on it."

Constructions chiefs estimate the black economy is taking a billion euro out of the industry and up to 200 million euro from the country's tax intake.

Revenue's annual report for 2010 showed net receipts amounted to 31.92 billion euro, 2.25% ahead of the Budget estimate but down 1.36 billion euro on the previous year.

Ms Feehily said tax evasion affected everybody in the community by depriving the Exchequer of funds needed for public services.

"Unlike the big problems of the country, everyone can do something about tax evasion," she continued.

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