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Revenue Audit Support


The Revenue audit landscape is changing. Over the past number of years the Irish Revenue have significantly increased the level of resources devoted to Revenue audits and investigations. This has led to a major increase in the number of businesses audited each year.

However, it is not just the number of audits that’s changed, it’s the way in which Revenue conduct them. Revenue is increasingly shifting to using a more detailed driven audit approach which tests not only the tax treatment of payroll items at a high level, but also looks to verify each transaction on a line detail level. This can pose a real challenge to large organisations that run complex accounting/payroll systems.

Revenue also now uses e-audit methods as standard. This requires organisations to hand over vast amounts of their financial data as part of the audit process. It also allows Revenue to interrogate data in a way that was not possible in the past. Therefore, the risks associated with Revenue audits have never been higher, for example:

  • Publication as a tax defaulter
  • Identification of additional tax liabilities
  • Payment of interest and penalties

Today many businesses are taking a proactive approach to reviewing their tax affairs and recognise that they may have issues such as PAYE/PRSI underpayments that need to be disclosed to Revenue. The benefits of this “self-review” approach are reduced penalties when the additional liability is disclosed. Other non-employment taxes such as VAT or RCT may need to be included in the disclosures so a comprehensive approach is called for.

Our experience shows that a well planned approach to preparing for a Revenue audit can help to minimise the final settlement, as well as minimise disruption to business. Few organisations have the knowledge, experience or resources required to properly prepare for a Revenue audit. Revenue will generally look upon a pre-audit review carried out by an external adviser as a proactive effort by the taxpayer to test tax compliance, to identify and resolve any shortcomings and to settle any liabilities arising. The extent of the preparatory work carried out can result in limiting the scope of the audit in light of the work done. Our services are designed to assist employers to minimise risk, to spotlight process improvement and cost control opportunities, to negotiate potentially hazardous settlements and to protect solidly earned “good corporate citizen” reputations.

Potential issues

Apart from being selected for a Revenue audit, investigation or enquiry, the need for review of your tax affairs can also arise when changes in your business occur, for example, the introduction of a new payroll system, an acquisition or merger.

The list below outlines some of the hot topics with Revenue in the PAYE space:

  • Car BIK operation
  • Payments to contractors
  • Unvouched expenses
  • Travel & subsistence issues
  • Professional subscriptions
  • Share scheme operations
  • Notional pay valuation
  • Payroll year end reporting issues
  • Small and irregular benefits
  • Termination payments
  • Expatriate & internationally mobile employees, including exclusion orders and ‘shadow’ payrolls

How can we help?

Our team includes a number of former Revenue officials who have extensive and in depth experience assisting organisations with some of the largest and most complex audits. The vast majority have been settled without adverse disruption to the business, without publication, and on terms acceptable to our clients. By engaging our team to assist your organisation you can be confident that you are dealing with professionals with the necessary experience and insight to help you prepare thoroughly for the what can be the unwelcome intrusion of a Revenue audit. The team has access to the most up to date knowledge on PAYE/PRSI matters in terms of technical developments, hot topics for Revenue scrutiny and practical approaches which have been agreed with Revenue, and can:

  • Project manage risk and give increased certainty by undertaking effective health checks of key tax heads
  • Assist with pre Revenue audit/disclosure reviews
  • Assist you in preparing a “qualifying disclosure” which will ensure that you will receive the maximum mitigation of tax geared penalties
  • Manage the Revenue audit and tax disclosure process in order to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your organisation
  • Negotiate with Revenue in order to minimise settlements, avoid drawn-out discussions/ correspondence and close the process down efficiently and cost effectively
  • Assist with payroll operational reviews

Contact us if:

  • You have been selected for audit
  • You have been selected for an e-audit intervention
  • Revenue has issued a letter requesting that you review a specific issue
  • If you have received an aspect query request from Revenue
  • You are already undergoing a Revenue audit and would like a second opinion
  • You have identified a tax underpayment outside the self-correction period
  • You are acquiring a new business and need to ensure that there are no unforeseen tax liabilities
  • You would like to be able to report to your shareholders/head office that the company have no unaccounted for tax underpayment

Contact us

Pat Mahon

Partner, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

Tel: +353 1 792 6186

Ken O'Brien

Director, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

Tel: +353 1 792 6818

Emer O'Sullivan

Director, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

Tel: +353 1 792 6695

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