Mr X and the Office of the Revenue Commissioners

JudgeElizabeth Dolan Senior Investigator
Judgment Date15 July 2015
Case OutcomeThe Senior Investigator affirmed Revenue's refusal of access to the information in the records under section 21(1)(a) of the FOI Act.
CourtInformation Commission
Record Number150036
RespondentThe Office of the Revenue Commissioners
Whether Revenue was justified in refusing access to some information contained in records concerning its audit of the applicant and his company on the basis that release of that information would prejudice Revenue's audit process
Conducted in accordance with section 34(2) of the FOI Act, by Elizabeth Dolan, Senior Investigator, who is authorised by the Information Commissioner to conduct this review


On 4 June 2014, the applicant made an FOI request for all documentation concerning the Revenue audits into his own tax affairs and the tax affairs of his company, including all "internal Revenue memoranda between the various sections of the Revenue, notes of telephone conversations and meetings", all correspondence between Revenue and the applicant's accountant, and a "copy of any certificates of the Revenue Commissioners which gives authorisation to the Revenue Auditor which allows him to exercise the powers conferred under the relevant provisions" of various pieces of legislation.

On 4 July 2014, Revenue issued a decision identifying 59 records relating to the request. It released 55 records in full, and withheld the remaining four records, relying on section 21(1)(a) to refuse records 2, 3, and 58, and relying on section 23(1)(a)(viii) to refuse record 1. On 22 July 2014, the applicant sought an internal review in relation to records 2 and 3. Revenue's internal review decision of 13 August 2014 varied the original decision and granted access to eight pages of record 2, and upheld the original decision in respect of the remainder, relying also on section 21(1)(c) in relation to record 3. On 4 February 2015, the applicant sought a review by this Office of Revenue's internal review decision.

During the course of this review, and following consultation with this Office, Revenue decided to administratively release the vast majority of records 2 and 3, redacting information at 2-1, 3-1, and 3-5. Having examined the information redacted at 3-5, I am satisfied that the information is outside the scope of the applicant's request and thus does not fall to be considered by this Office.

The applicant in this case has referred to the company involved as his company. All references to the "applicant" in this decision may be read as references to the applicant or the company, as appropriate. I will refer in this decision to 2-1 of record 2, and 3-1 of record 3, simply as 2-1 and 3-1 respectively.

I note that Mr Benjamin O'Gorman, Investigating Officer, contacted the applicant on 14 July 2015 and informed him of his view that Revenue was justified in its decision to refuse to release the remaining information. I have now decided to conclude this review by way of a formal binding decision.

In carrying out my review, I have had regard to correspondence between Revenue and the applicant as set out above; to the records at issue, copies of which were sent to this Office for the purposes of the review; to details of various contacts between this Office and Revenue and to details of various contacts between this Office and the applicant. I have also had regard to the provisions of the FOI Act.

In the interests of clarity, I should point out that this review was carried out under the provisions of the FOI Acts 1997-2003, notwithstanding the fact that the FOI Act 2014 has now been enacted. The transitional provisions in section 55 of the 2014 Act provide that any action commenced under the 1997 Act but not completed before the commencement of...

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