Revenue said it collected €56.2 billion in taxes and duties for the Exchequer last year, as well as over €15 billion on behalf of other departments, agencies and EU states after "an unprecedented year" in terms of disruption and uncertainty. 

Revenue today published its preliminary results for 2020 including tax and duty collected, services provided to customers, timely compliance rates and yield from compliance and enforcement interventions. 

It said that despite the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, overall timely compliance rates for 2020 were only marginally down on 2019. 

It said it acknowledged and thanked businesses, individual taxpayers and tax practitioners for the positive engagement in ensuring that a continued culture of strong voluntary compliance prevailed during the year. 

Audit and compliance interventions at a taxpayer's premises were suspended in March.

But Revenue said it continued to engage with businesses to progress compliance interventions electronically via myEnquiries or by telephone. 

During 2020, it completed over 378,500 audit and compliance interventions yielding over €484m. 

Revenue also secured 21 criminal convictions for serious tax evasion and fraud and published 122 tax settlements in its Tax Defaulters list.

"Our work in tackling smuggling and other illegal activity continued despite the pandemic, evidenced by the seizure of over 48 million cigarettes worth almost €33m and over 4,600 kilos of drugs with an estimated value of almost €45m," it said today.

Revenue also said it continues to play a significant role in the delivery of critical Government supports to businesses affected by Covid-19. 

Revenue Chairman Niall Cody said the introduction of real-time reporting for PAYE in January 2019 meant that when the pandemic escalated in March, it quickly reengineered its PAYE system to support impacted employers and employees. 

Revenue Chairman Niall Cody

Niall Cody said that the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme provided more than €2.8 billion in support to 66,600 employers in respect of over 664,500 employees between March 26 and August 31. 

"As part of the July Jobs Stimulus package the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme from September. In 2020, over €1.4 billion has been paid under the scheme to over 39,800 eligible employers in respect of 443,100 employees," Mr Cody added.

He also said the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme introduced in Budget 2021 was supporting businesses significantly affected by public health restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"In 2020, 16,600 businesses are registered for the scheme in respect of 19,000 premises. Total payments made under the scheme currently stand at €146m," he added. 

Today's report also said that if the Covid-19 pandemic had not happened, the big talking point this year would have been Brexit. 

"Despite the challenges of Covid-19 and its impact on key elements of our role we continued our preparations for Brexit on all fronts throughout 2020," Revenue Commissioner and Director-General of Customs Gerry Harrahill, said. 

During the year, Revenue wrote to 149,000 businesses with Brexit preparatory advice and further engaged with over 14,500 businesses over the phone. 

Revenue said that over 76,925 businesses are now registered for Customs with Revenue and have an EORI number. 

"The launch of our Customs RoRo Service optimises the efficient movement and, where necessary, control of goods and vehicles when moved by ferry between Ireland and Great Britain," Gerry Harrahill added.  

"We appreciate that the new reality of Great Britain being fully outside of the EU is presenting significant challenges for trade and business and that complying with customs formalities imposes additional burdens on them," Mr Harrahill said. 

But he stressed that compliance is absolutely essential to ensure that Ireland fulfils its obligations as a member of the EU and that we protect the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union. 

"This is vital for Irish business. We will continue to support trade and business in adapting to the new customs formalities brought about by Brexit and as things bed down we will work with individual businesses to resolve specific matters," he added.

Niall Cody said that 2020 was the most extraordinary year during which, as a nation and a tax administration, we faced unprecedented challenges. 

"While developments in relation to vaccines are positive, we will need to continue to live with the challenges of Covid-19 in the immediate to medium term. 

"We will continue to work closely with our colleagues in the Department of Finance during this time of economic uncertainty and play our part in administering and overseeing the relevant schemes and measures introduced by the Government in response to the pandemic," he said.

On Brexit, he also said that Revenue's focus is to implement customs controls in a manner that supports legitimate trade while effectively managing compliance risk, tackling illicit trade and protecting the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union. 

"I am confident that, as an organisation, we are in a strong position to meet these challenges, evidenced by the response of our people to the challenges posed last year," he added.