Taxi drivers, ethnic shops, head shops, fast food stores and couriers have been targeted in a crackdown on the shadow economy.
The Revenue Commissioners say tackling the shadow economy has become a top priority for the next four years, as more people try to escape the tax net during the recession.
Revenue received new powers in this area earlier this year, but will also seek additional muscle in the forthcoming Finance Act.
In a recent crackdown, Revenue forged stronger links with trade bodies, which are increasingly willing to ‘whistleblow’ on operators taking away business from tax-compliant members.
New initiatives are being considered, including the development of closer ties with the Department of Social Protection, to crack down on welfare cheats.
A Revenue spokeswoman said: ‘‘Increasingly, trade groups, which are under pressure from their members who are trying to comply with their tax duties, are prepared to share specific information with Revenue, and there is ongoing dialogue with a number of groups.
‘‘In particular, we are learning specific information about locations, practices and people whose tax evasion is putting others out of business in certain sectors.
"[This], coupled with our own intelligence, can then [be used to] formulate the best response. We intend to develop and expand this process in 2011," she added.
Margaret Whelan, from the Revenue’s sectoral compliance branch, said: ‘‘The competitive concerns are there with all the organisations. There has been more interaction with us in the last year because their members are clearly worried."
She said relationships with other bodies were being developed, such as the sharing of information with the Taxi Regulator. Mult i-agency checkpoints have been used to crack down on taxi drivers failing to declare income, for example.
One such project in Galway revealed some non-compliance in 20 to 25 per cent of cases.
There have been 29 multiagency checkpoints this year.
05 December 2010
By Samantha McCaughren
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Irish shadow economy cheats being targeted by the Revenue