The Appeal Commissioners are responsible for hearing and determining appeals by taxpayers against decisions of the Revenue Commissioners.
Issues with the current system
The main problems with the current system are delays, lack of independence, and critically, the absence of written records or publication of decisions which prevent decisions being used for precedent or guidance purposes.
In response to numerous calls from professional bodies, the Department of Finance announced a review of the tax appeal process in the 2014 Budget. The consultation process has begun, and the Department are currently seeking submissions from interested parties before the end of January 2014.
The following are the main proposals put forward by the Department:
- In order to alleviate delays, three Appeal Commissioners should be appointed on a full time basis in addition to a panel of suitably qualified applicants who would hear cases on a per case basis.
- The Appeal Commissioners should be suitably resourced and staffed in order to carry out its functions independently.
- The decision of the Appeal Commissioner should be issued to the parties within three months and should include a summary of the facts of the case and reasons for the decision.
- Appropriate decisions should be published.
- Revenue should have the same rights of appeal as the taxpayer.
- Depending on the outcome of the appeal the relevant tax or duty should be paid or repaid at the end of each stage of the appeal process.
The consultation process is a positive step in reforming our tax appeal system. It is hoped that the new system will be more time efficient, user friendly and sufficiently resourced to publish its decisions.