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23/09/2021

Who didn't pay their taxes? Publican, taxi operator, medical services provider among the big debtors

Who didn't pay their taxes? Midlands motor vehicle dealer's huge €11  million  Revenue bill revealed

Revenue is responsible for collection taxes that help pay for public services

A a publican and a taxi driver with combined tax debts nearly €700,000 and a medical services provider who ran €1.5 million bill to the Revenue Commissioners in unpaid taxes are among those who didn't pay money to the State to help fund schools, hospitals, housing and other public services in Ireland.

They are listed in the Revenue's published List of Tax Defaulters in respect of the period April 1 to June 30, 2021. During the same three months, investigations resulted in more than  €152.7 million in unpaid taxes being recouped by tax office from people who chose not to their way.

While most people pay up when Revenue calls others don't and have to be subjected to extensive audits to find out how much they owe.

Among those on the list are a publican and a taxi-driver in Kilkenny Mary Barry and Michael Barry.

Mary Barry, of Tinnahinch, Graiguenamanagh, is listed as a publican trading at Gahhan's Public House. She had unpaid tax of €102,200 following a Revenue Audit Case for non-declaration of VAT. Interest was calculated at €106,094.19 while penalties ran to €102,200. Her total bill ran to €310,494.19. She had not paid any of this by the end of June this year.

Michael Barry, of  Tinnahinch, Graiguenamanagh, is listed as a taxi hire operator. He had unpaid taxes of €132,612.81 after a Revenue Audit Case for under-declaration of income tax. Interest on this ran to €109,926.07 while the penalty was calculated at €132,612.81. The total owned amounted to €375,151.69 of which none was paid at the end of June 2021.

They are listed is on Part 2 of the list compiled pursuant to Section 1086 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997. The total number of settlements published is 18 The total value of these settlements is €3.39 million. Where a taxpayer has failed to pay or failed to enter into an arrangement to pay the full amount of the settlement, the amount unpaid as at 31 March 2021 is indicated in the list.

Leading the way on Part 2 was Veneris Consulting Unlimited formerly Dr Hugh O'Connor Unlimited. The medical service provider with an address at 6B Uppr Water St, Newry, Co Down, had a tax bill of €€750,000 following a Revenue Audit Case for under-declaration of PAYE/PRSI/USC. The interest on the unpaid tax was caculated at €525,000 with penalties of €225,000. 

Revenue calculated that the total owed the State was €1,500,000. None of the money owed was outstanding at the end of June.

See FULL PART 2 LIST HERE. 

Revenue also publishes a Part 1 list which includes persons in whose case the Court has determined a penalty relating to a settlement, or has imposed a fine, imprisonment or other penalty in respect of a tax or duty offence.

The biggest debt on this list was accrued by Sean Tinkler a company director with an address at Thistletown Lodge, Bellevue Hill, Delgany, Co Wicklow. The penalty determination by the Courts in relation to a non-declaration of income tax and VAT in the this case amounted to €261,717.73.

See FULL PART 1 LIST HERE

Revenue say these published settlements reflect only a portion of all Revenue audits and investigations. 

In the 3-month period to 31 March 2021 a total of 234 Revenue audit and investigations, together with 15,720 Risk Management Interventions (Aspect Queries and Profile Interviews), were settled, resulting in a yield of €121.4 million in tax, interest, and penalties. 

#EXPLAINER AND FURTHER INFO ON LATEST LIST

Part 1: Court Determinations

Court Determination of Penalty: Subject to certain criteria, in settlement cases where there is no agreement to a penalty, or a person fails to pay an agreed penalty, the Court determines the penalty. Details are published when the Court determined penalty exceeds 15% of the total tax and the total of the tax, interest and penalty is more than €35,000 and a qualifying disclosure has not been made: 
There were 6 such cases in the 3-month period to 30 June 2021 totalling €730,313.96.

Court imposed fine, imprisonment or other penalty: Details are published when a fine or other Court penalty is imposed in respect of tax or duty offences. Court penalties may include imprisonment, partly suspended or suspended sentences, community service in lieu of imprisonment, and closure orders.

55 such cases are published and €137,750 is the total of court fines imposed.
These include:

  • 30 cases relating to failing to lodge tax returns, failing to remit VAT and delivery of incorrect returns. Court fines totalling €76,500 and one 3-year sentence, fully suspended, were imposed;
  • 17 cases of misuse of marked mineral oil in respect of which Court fines totalling €43,500 were imposed.
  • 6 cases of excise offences for tobacco smuggling, illegal selling of tobacco and illegal betting in respect of which Court
  • fines totalling €15,000 and 340 hours of community service in lieu of imprisonment were imposed;
  • 2 cases of obstruction of a Revenue officer, in respect of which Court fines totalling €2,750 were imposed.


Part 2: Settlements

Settlements are published when the extensive voluntary disclosure options are not availed of and the default arises because of careless or deliberate behaviour:

18 cases are published today and €3.39 million is the total settlement amount in these cases; 
7 cases were for amounts exceeding €100,000 of which 1 exceeded €500,000 and 1 of which exceeded €1 million;
5 are cases in which the settlement was not fully paid as at 30 June 2021; 
€966,684.70 was the amount unpaid as at 30 June 2021. In some cases, collection/recovery of the full unpaid amount will not be possible (for example, company liquidation).

€13,811,898 was the amount unpaid as at 31 March 2021. In some cases, collection/recovery of the full unpaid amount will not be possible (for example, company liquidation).

Background

Revenue says its compliance programme is carried out under the "Code of Practice for Revenue Audit and other Compliance Interventions" (the Code). The significant benefits of making a ‘qualifying disclosure’ are set out in the Code and include availing of reduced penalties, avoiding publication in the List of Tax Defaulters, and avoiding possible prosecution.

Publication

Revenue says it publishes the List of Tax Defaulters under the provisions of Section 1086 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, as amended. The list is published in two parts:

Part 1: Court Penalty Determinations and Court imposed fine, imprisonment or other penalty

Court penalty determinations are published where a taxpayer has not made a qualifying disclosure, the Court determined penalty exceeds 15% of the total tax, and the total of the tax, interest and penalty is more than €35,000.

All cases where a fine, imprisonment or other Court penalty is imposed by a Court, in respect of a tax or duty offence, are published.

Part 2: Accepted Settlements (and Settlements deemed to be agreed due to full payment)

Where a taxpayer has voluntarily furnished complete information relating to undisclosed tax liabilities and paid the tax and interest due (made a qualifying disclosure of tax defaults), settlements are not published.

Since 1 May 2017, significant changes and restrictions have come into effect where the case involves matters outside the Republic of Ireland, or 'offshore matters'. These changes limit the opportunity to make a 'qualifying disclosure' and coincide with increased international co-operation whereby Revenue gets more and more information automatically from other jurisdictions.

Legislation introduced in the Finance Act 2016 obliges Revenue to identify settlements where the person has failed to pay within the relevant period. 

Settlements are not published where the taxpayer has made a qualifying disclosure relating to undisclosed tax, as defined in Section 1077E (1) of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997, where the settlement amount does not exceed the relevant threshold, currently €35,000, or where the amount of fine or other penalty does not exceed 15% of the amount of tax.

Calculation of Penalties

Where a qualifying disclosure has not been made, Revenu say penalties between 15% and 100% are applied, depending on the category of default and whether or not the taxpayer has cooperated fully with Revenue in the course of enquiries. The categories of default are Deliberate Behaviour or Careless Behaviour.

Deliberate Behaviour involves either a breach of a tax obligation with indicators consistent with intent on the part of the taxpayer or a breach that cannot be explained solely by carelessness
Careless Behaviour involves lack of due care, which results in the incorrect declaration of tax liabilities by a taxpayer, or which results in the making of incorrect repayment claims. The level of penalty may be further reduced having regard to the level of cooperation provided by the taxpayer once the default is uncovered. Full details of the level of penalties applicable to audit settlements are set out in Penalty Table 1 (Paragraph 5.6.2) of the Code.

Innocent errors and adjustments due to different interpretations of legislation

Penalties are not applicable where a tax default is not deliberate or is not attributable in any way to the failure by a taxpayer to take reasonable care to comply with his or her tax obligations. Neither is a penalty applicable where an adjustment to liability arises from differences in the interpretation or the application of legislation, and the taxpayer could reasonably have considered her/his interpretation to be correct.

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