Revenue has foregone tax, interest and penalties worth over €100m in the past five years in circumstances where taxpayers have pleaded inability to pay the money they owe.

According to the Minister for Finance, Revenue does not accept amounts in settlement that are less than the actual amounts due.

But in some cases where a taxpayer can prove they do not have the financial capacity to pay the additional liability they can claim inability to pay.

Figures contained in a parliamentary question response from Paschal Donohoe to Fianna Fail's finance spokesman Michael McGrath, show that between 2014 and 2018, a total of 761 taxpayers have had such a claim accepted by Revenue.

Cumulatively, the amount of tax, interest and penalties foregone amounts to €102.4m.

The highest annual amount was last year, when €24.8m in tax, interest and penalties was not collected because of inability to pay claims from 130 taxpayers.

"Any inability to pay claim must be supported with clear evidence of the taxpayer’s financial situation and Revenue always reserves the right to subsequently reverse an agreed 'claim’ if the person’s situation unexpectedly improves," the Minister said in his response.

Where an inability to pay claim is not accepted, Revenue pursues collection with the taxpayer for the full amount (tax, interest and penalties) due."

"Where the taxpayer does not pay the liability, either as a single payment or on a phased basis, Revenue uses its debt collection/enforcement options, including Sheriff, Court Judgments and Attachment Orders to secure payment."

Revenue said that in the worst cases, Revenue will apply to the courts to begin insolvency proceedings including liquidation in the case of businesses and bankruptcy in the case of individuals.

"The Revenue Commissioners have to strike the delicate balance between treating all taxpayers fairly, making every effort to collect taxes due while recognising at the same time that there may be circumstances where the person or business concerned simply does not have the capacity to pay," Michael McGrath said.

"In those cases where the inability to pay clause is accepted by Revenue following a detailed assessment, it is reasonable to essentially park the liability and only pursue it again if the circumstances improve for the taxpayer concerned."