Tax defaulters list includes three tribunal witnesses

The latest tax defaulters list from the Revenue Commissioners bears a resemblance to the witness list of the tribunals of yesteryear.

Former Fianna Fáil fundraiser Des Richardson who was linked with making payments to disgraced lobbyist and former government press secretary Frank Dunlop, appeared on Revenue’s tax defaulters list for the under-declaration of more than €38,000. With interest and penalties, Mr Richardson settled for the sum of €108,906.

Mr Richardson was a witness at the Mahon Tribunal. He brought a High Court challenge last year against a number of its findings including that he failed to disclose the source of IR£39,000 held in a bank account.

Two other high profile tribunal witnesses, builders Tom Brennan and Joe McGowan, also appeared on the tax defaulters list along with William Brennan and Michael Brennan. The four individuals described as company directors made settlements of €400,000 each, following a revenue investigation.

Tom Brennan and Joe McGowan were among the largest house builders in Ireland in the 1970’s with an output of 700 properties a year.

The Flood Tribunal accused the two builders of colluding in their evidence to obstruct the investigation into payments made to off shore accounts and the former Fianna Fáil minister Ray Burke.

In total some 135 people were named on the tax defaulters list, which covers the last three months of last year, with settlements totalling more than €27m.

The single largest settlement was made by a Wicklow plant hire contractor, Micheal Healy for more than €2m.

A Co Wexford-based artist, Mark O’Neill made a settlement for €721,000 following the under declaration of tax of half a million. Artists are entitled to an exemption from income tax on the first €40,000 they earn since 2011, when the exemption was cut from €250,000.

A Kilkenny based bookmaking firm, Harrington Bookmakers, and two directors behind it made four settlements with the Revenue Commissioners totalling €2.8m.

Other notable findings included seven individuals making settlements totalling €1.51m following probes into offshore funds.

Four settlements, adding up to €1.68m, came about as part of Revenue’s investigation into single premium insurance products.

A spokesperson for the Revenue Commissioners said: “Settlements are only published when the extensive voluntary disclosure options are not availed of and the default is a result of careless or deliberate behaviour.

“A total of 2,077 Revenue audit and investigations together with 12,001 risk management interventions were settled in the October 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012 period resulting in yields of €115m.”

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