Finance Act 2011

Confidentiality of taxpayer information.

77.— The Principal Act is amended by inserting the following after section 851—

“851A.— (1) In this section,

‘agent’ means a member of a professional body;

‘investigation authority’ means a statutory body responsible for the investigation of alleged criminal offences;

‘professional body’ means—

(a) an accountancy body that comes within the supervisory remit of the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority,

(b) the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority, or

(c) the Irish Taxation Institute;

‘Revenue officer’ includes serving and former officers of the Revenue Commissioners;

‘taxpayer information’ means information of any kind and in any form relating to one or more persons that is—

(a) obtained by a Revenue officer for the purposes of the Acts, or

(b) prepared from information so obtained,

but does not include information that does not directly or indirectly reveal the identity of the person to whom it relates;

‘the Acts’ means—

(a) the Tax Acts,

(b) Parts 18A, 18B, 18C and 18D,

(c) the statutes relating to the duties of excise and to the management of those duties,

(d) the Capital Gains Tax Acts,

(e) the Value-Added Tax Acts,

(f) the Capital Acquisitions Tax Consolidation Act 2003 , and the enactments amending or extending that Act, and

(g) the statutes relating to stamp duty and the management of that duty,

and any instruments made thereunder and any instruments made under any other enactment and relating to tax.

(2) All taxpayer information held by the Revenue Commissioners or a Revenue officer is confidential and may only be disclosed in accordance with this section or as is otherwise provided for by any other statutory provision.

(3) Except as authorised by this section, any Revenue officer who knowingly—

(a) provides to any person any taxpayer information,

(b) allows to be provided to any person any taxpayer information,

(c) allows any person to have access to any taxpayer information, or

(d) uses any taxpayer information otherwise than in the course of administering or enforcing the Acts,

shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable—

(i) on summary conviction to a fine of €3,000, and

(ii) on conviction on indictment to a fine of €10,000.

(4) Subject to subsection (5), a Revenue officer shall not be required to give or produce evidence relating to taxpayer information in connection with any legal proceedings, notwithstanding anything to the contrary.

(5) Subsection (2) does not apply to—

(a) criminal proceedings, or

(b) any legal proceedings (including proceedings before the Appeal Commissioners) relating to the administration or enforcement of the Acts.

(6) (a) Where a Revenue officer has information that leads him or her to suspect that a criminal offence may have been committed, he or she may report the matter and provide such information, as is appropriate, to an investigation authority for investigation.

(b) Information received by an investigation authority may only be used in the detection or investigation of the matter reported to it.

(7) (a) A Revenue officer may disclose personal information to a professional body where he or she is satisfied that the work of an agent does not meet the professional standards of a professional body.

(b) Information received by a professional body may only be used for the purposes of any investigation by the professional body.

(8) A Revenue officer may disclose information in the following circumstances—

(a) where disclosure of information is authorised by the Freedom of Information Act 1997 and the information is not taxpayer information,

(b) for the purposes of any enquiry under the Tribunal of Enquiry (Evidence) Acts 1921 to 2002,

(c) where the taxpayer information disclosed relates to the person to whom disclosure is made,

(d) where the taxpayer information is disclosed with the consent of the taxpayer to any other person,

(e) where disclosure is made to a person acting in a representative capacity, taxpayer information that is relevant to the person in that capacity,

(f) in relation to a charity, such information as a Revenue Commissioner may authorise in writing and which is in the possession of a Revenue officer in relation to the name of a charity, its objectives, its governing documents and its principal officers,

(g) taxpayer information may be disclosed to an official of the Department of Finance solely for the purposes of the formulation or evaluation of fiscal policy,

(h) taxpayer information which may reasonably be regarded as necessary for the purposes of determining any tax, interest, penalty or other amount that is or may become payable by another person, or any refund or tax credit to which the other person is or may become entitled, may be disclosed to that other person,

(i) information which is not taxpayer information, and

(j) taxpayer information the disclosure of which is expressly authorised by another enactment.

(9) Nothing in this section shall prevent the due disclosure in the course of duties of taxpayer information by a Revenue Commissioner or Revenue officer to another Revenue Commissioner or Revenue officer.

(10) Section 13 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1967 shall apply in relation to an offence under this section as if, in place of the penalty provided for in subsection (3) of that section, there were specified in that subsection the penalty provided for by subsection (3)(i), and the reference in subsection (2)(a) of section 13 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1967 to the penalty provided for in subsection (3) of that section shall be construed and apply accordingly.”.