Right to Know wins case over access to records on possible TV licence collection by Revenue

The Revenue Commissioners have been told to release records they hold on discussions over whether they would be tasked with collecting the TV licence.

Revenue had claimed the records were exempt from release on the basis of Cabinet confidentiality (Section 28 of the FOI Act) and under Section 30.

However, the Information Commissioner has found that only two records actually contained information for use at a government meeting.

It’s an important decision which again goes to the heart of what is and is not exempt under Section 28 of the Act.

It only covers records that were created very specifically for a meeting of government.

However, many public bodies wrongly interpret it much more widely as any records relating in any way to a decision or a meeting of government.

This is not correct and this decision of the Information Commissioner upholds that principle.

Separately, Revenue had tried to rely on Section 30 of the FOI Act saying some of the records could reveal anticipated difficulties in collecting tax.

They said this could lead to widespread evasion and undermine public confidence in their abilities to effectively collect all taxes.

The Information Commissioner (OCEI) was not convinced however, and said Revenue had failed to provide enough detail on how potential for evasion could prejudice its investigations, inquiries, or audits.

The OCEI also said that steps would presumably be taken to ensure any tax collection system would be robust.

You can read the full decision below.