The Tax Appeals Commission’s (TAC) objective is to fulfil the obligations placed on it by the Finance (Tax Appeals) Act 2015 and the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (“TCA 1997”). To fulfil these, the TAC facilitates taxpayers in exercising, where appropriate, their right of appeal to an independent body against decisions and assessments of the Revenue Commissioners and the Criminal Assets Bureau.
The Issue for Determination
Recently, the TAC issued a determination regarding an Appellant’s complaint about the treatment of an IQA allowance he received in respect of his contributory pension for the years 2019 and 2020. The Appellant was dissatisfied with how he was assessed in relation to his contributory pension, in respect of which he received an increase for his spouse as a Qualifying Adult (Increase for a Qualifying Adult, or “IQA”).
The Appellant’s complaint related to how the Revenue Commissioners had interpreted an IQA allowance he received in respect of his contributory pension. According to the appellant, “this allowance [was] paid directly to his spouse”, who had “full and sole discretion over how it [was] expended”. In the appellant’s opinion, “whoever actually receives the money should pay the Tax on it. To expect someone else, who received none of that money, to pay the tax on it is unbelievable and very unfair”.
On 30 November 2021 and 6 December 2021, the Appellant received P21 Balancing Statements for the years 2019 and 2020. These indicated underpayments of income tax in the amounts of €3,660.36 and €3,810.69 respectively. On 16 December 2021, the Appellant duly appealed the P21 Assessments to the Commission, arguing that:
“Revenue’s position is that I am deemed to be the beneficiary of the Pension, plus the Increase for a Qualified Adult. They are clearly wrong in that stance. I am the beneficiary of the Pension only and my Wife is the beneficiary of the Qualified Adult Increase. Surely, the beneficiary has to be the person who actually receives the money and not somebody else? Regardless of what way the Government tricks around with the wording of the Acts, it cannot change that fact, which should override everything else.”
By contrast, the Revenue Commissioners’ position was that the IQA allowance was deemed to be the Appellant’s income for tax purposes, pursuant to section 126(2B) of the TCA 1997.
The Revenue Commissioners submitted that “…it is incumbent upon [the Appellant] to demonstrate that Revenue has erred in the way he was taxed with regard to the QAD portion of his pension. Respectfully, the Respondent would argue that the assertion that Revenue is ‘clearly wrong’ does not meet that burden in a matter where the wording of the legislation is quite clear.”
For the Revenue Commissioners, that the appellant claimed “the government has tricked around with the wording of the Acts” implied dissatisfaction with the legislation itself, rather than with the Revenue Commissioners’ interpretation of the legislation.
The TAC in its determination considered all the facts and information presented, paying particular attention to the following:
- Past case law examples – Lee v Revenue Commissioners [IECA] 2021 18 & Stanley v The Revenue Commissioners  IECA 279.
The Commissioner determined that the Appellant had failed in his appeal and had not succeeded in demonstrating that the tax was not payable. It was noted that there is no discretion as regards the application of section 126(2B) of the TCA 1997 and the Revenue Commissioners were correct in their approach to the IQA income for the years under appeal.