Irish Consider Electronic Tagging “Tax Exiles”

Irish Times
April 2, 2009

Electronic tagging for “tax exiles” is being considered by the Department of Finance in advance of next week’s budget.

[efoods]The measure is aimed at monitoring the presence in the State of individuals who claim to be non-resident for tax purposes.

Last year, 5,803 people claimed non-residency for tax. The Revenue believes that 440 of those are “high net worth” individuals. “These are the people who we’d be aiming this proposal at,” a spokesman for the department said.

Foreign-based Irish millionaires can avoid Irish tax if they spend fewer than 183 days in the State. Last November, Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan abolished the so-called “Cinderella” rule, whereby an individual is not deemed to have spent a day in the country if they leave by midnight.

“We’re still concerned that there are a few fairy tales being told about where people are actually living,” said the spokesman.

Electronic tagging is a form of non-surreptitious surveillance consisting of an electronic device attached to a person, usually certain criminals, allowing their whereabouts to be monitored.

The devices locate themselves using GPS and report their position back to a control centre via a mobile phone network. The devices are usually built into ankle monitors, which are designed to be tamper-resistant and will alert the authorities to tampering attempts. According to the spokesman, certain technical issues remain to be resolved before the plan is implemented.

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