Smothered in love letters from Revenue

I see the Revenue Commissioners have offered yet another amnesty to tax evaders (Sub. Req’d).

Ireland is the only country in the world that operates a policy of continuous amnesties for tax criminals, all other jurisdictions preferring the option of law enforcement.

The latest amnesty is aimed at single premium insurance accounts and was launched in 2005 when Revenue asked insurance companies to write to their customers inviting them to obey the law like everybody else. While this strategy had some success many of those involved declined the offer.

Revenue responded by issuing yet another batch of letters directly to account holders again inviting them to obey the law and promising not to prosecute if cooperation was forthcoming.

Let’s consider exactly what’s happening here. Initially a number of citizens decided to cheat on their taxes through their insurance accounts. When Revenue became aware of this widespread tax criminality they asked the insurance companies to invite the tax cheats to obey the law.

When the criminals replied with two fingers Revenue then decided to write directly, again inviting them to obey the law with promises that if they do they will avoid prosecution.

Remember this is the third occasion in which these criminals have consciously opted to break the law and they are still receiving invitations to meet their obligations.

Irish tax criminals are justified in their two finger response. Revenue has opted for the lazy and cheap option of writing letters of invitation instead of rigorously enforcing the law.

The message sent out is loud and clear – Tax evasion is well worth the risk. Even in the unlikely event of detection the only real danger involved is the possibility of being smothered in love letters from a weak and ineffective Revenue.

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