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Tax Appeals Commission – Three Years On, and FAQs

The Tax Appeals Commission (‘TAC’) and the current regime for the processing of tax appeals entered into force on 21 March 2016.

The TAC is an independent statutory body whose main task is hearing, determining and disposing of appeals against assessments and decisions of the Revenue Commissioners concerning taxes and duties in accordance with relevant legislation.

Prior to the introduction of the TAC, taxpayers appealed directly to the Revenue Commissioners who then transferred cases to the Appeal Commissioners in the event that the parties wished to proceed to hearing. Since 21 March 2016, taxpayers appeal directly to the TAC which then notifies the Revenue Commissioners of the appeals.

Having just passed the third anniversary of the TAC, we explore some of the frequently asked questions that clients raise with us.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can you briefly outline the process?

While the process can and does vary between appeals, the process will generally include the following:

  • Notice of Appeal – the first stage in the appeal process is to file a Notice of Appeal in respect of the matter. This can done using a paper form or by electronic means. It includes, among other information, administrative aspects of the appeal and the grounds of appeal.
  • Acceptance of Appeal – Where a valid appeal has been made, it will be accepted by the TAC.
  • Statement of Case – Following an appeal’s acceptance by the TAC, the taxpayer and the Revenue Commissioners will both typically be directed to provide a Statement of Case in relation to the matter under appeal. This document should include, among other things, an outline of the relevant facts, the statutory provisions being relied upon, relevant case-law, and an estimation of the hearing’s likely duration.
  • Outline of Arguments – The TAC will normally direct the parties to subsequently provide, to the TAC and the other party, legal submissions outlining the arguments that will be made at the hearing.
  • Case Management Conference – At any stage in the appeal process, the TAC can issue a direction for the parties to attend a pre-hearing meeting known as a Case Management Conference. At such a meeting, the current status of the appeal is ascertained and the next steps in the build up to the hearing (if one is still required) are discussed.
  • Hearing – The last stage in the process is the hearing itself. The duration of the hearing varies between cases, depending on factors such as the complexity of the case, the number of different issues under appeal, the number of witnesses to be called, and so on. 

2. Can an appeal be submitted late?

While an appeal should normally be submitted no later than 30 days from the date of the Revenue Commissioners’ determination or assessment, the TAC may accept a late appeal in certain cases where the taxpayer was prevented from filing an appeal on time due to ‘absence, sickness or other reasonable cause’.

3. Can an agent be appointed to deal with appeal?

Yes. The relevant legislation provides for an agent to act under the taxpayer’s authority in relation to an appeal.

4. Will the appeal be heard in public?

An appeal hearing is normally heard in public unless you apply to the TAC for the hearing, or a specified part of the hearing, to be held in private. This can be done when filing a Notice of Appeal in respect of the matter.

In exceptional cases without such an application, the TAC may also issue a direction stating that a hearing, or part of a hearing, is to be held in private. Such a direction is rare in practice so it is normally the taxpayer’s decision as to whether the hearing will be heard in public or privately. Ordinarily, taxpayers will normally opt to have the entire hearing to be held in private.

5. I have filed several appeals relating to the same matter but for different periods. Do I need to proceed with each of them separately?

No, not necessarily. By way of a direction issued by the TAC, the appeals can be consolidated and heard together. In practice, such consolidation is commonplace.

6. Can I appeal the TAC’s determination in my case?

Your right of appeal to the High Court is confined to instances where you believe the TAC has erred on a point of law.

Depending on the specifics of the case, it may also be possible to appeal the High Court’s subsequent decision.

7. Is it possible to withdraw an appeal, once filed?

Yes. An appeal or any aspect of an appeal can be withdrawn at any stage of the process.

8. The Revenue Commissioners would like to reach a settlement agreement. How does affect the appeal process?

Prior to hearing, where the taxpayer and the Revenue Commissioners reach a settlement agreement, the appeal is treated as being withdrawn.

Where such an agreement is reached, the TAC should be notified.

9. How many appeals is the TAC currently dealing with?

As part of a Dáil Éireann debate on 27 March 2019, Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance, noted that he had been informed by the TAC that there were currently 3,566 active appeals under its remit. A breakdown of that number is as follows:

 

Tax Type Legacy Pre-establishment 2016 2017 2018 2019 Total
Income Tax 527 98 149 703 596 175 2,248
Value-Added Tax 20 14 28 105 151 31 349
Vehicle Reistration Tax - 1 10 37 125 36 209
Corporation Tax 27 8 16 63 103 17 234
Other* 13 8 22 51 61 34 189
Capital Gains Tax 91 15 22 47 54 21 250
Capital Acquisitions Tax 4 5 6 26 34 12 87
Total 682 149 253 1.032 1,124 326 3,566

* Other includes Relevant Contracts Tax, Local Property Tax, Customs & Excise, Deposit Interest Retention Tax, Professional Services Withholding Tax, Stamp Duty, and Dividend Withholding Tax.

10. Is the TAC located at the Four Courts?

No. Its current location is as follows:

2nd Floor, Fitzwilliam Court,
Leeson Close,
Dublin 2,
D02 YW24.

Should you have any queries on this article’s contents or would like our assistance with dealing with any taxation issue, please feel free to contact us.

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