County Leitrim has the third highest rate in the country of failing to make income tax returns, according to a detailed analysis by the RTÉ Investigations Unit of data from the Revenue Commissioners.
Leitrim recorded 181 offences in the period between 2002 and 2014, the equivalent of 569 cases per 100,000 of population. The report looks at more than 11,000 people convicted of failing to make income tax returns over a thirteen year period.
According to the data from the Revenue Commissioners, the North West region has the highest concentration of offenders per capita compared to any other part of the country. The report says, “There could be a variety of reasons for this including a higher level of targeted enforcement by Revenue.”
Our neighbours, Roscommon had the highest rate of convictions, where the number of cases per 100,000 of population was 671. That was almost ten times higher than the lowest in Kilkenny, where the rate was just 68 per 100,000.
In the same period, Longford had 651, Leitrim 569, Offaly 541, Donegal 536 and Mayo 477.
The detailed report found that the construction sector had more than double the offenders of any other sector, and accounted for over a third of all the convictions. Farmers accounted for the biggest number of tax convictions. They made up 10.4% of the Revenue list, followed by company directors (4.7%), builders (3.5%) and building contractors (3.2%).
More than €20 million was paid in fines on foot of these tax convictions. Men accounted for the overwhelming majority of the convictions in the Revenue data, with 94.2% of the cases involving males.
A spokesperson for the Revenue Commissioners confirmed that “specific sectors and geographical locations may be targeted, on the basis of risk, for intervention from time to time”.
Taxpayers must file a return by the 31st of October each year or by mid-November if they are doing so online.