A former accountant who failed to pay €344,000 to Revenue over the course of a decade has avoided jail for failing to make proper tax returns.
Kevin Tucker (aged 52) dealt with the tax affairs of his clients before giving up his accountancy license after being charged by the Revenue.
His defence counsel said that Tucker always ensured the tax affairs of others were in order instead of addressing his own.
He commented that the saying “the man who lives closest to the church is always last to Mass” applies to this case.
Imposing a suspended one-year sentence, Judge Martin Nolan said he has a history of being unsympathetic to tax offenders.
The judge previously imposed a six-year term, later reduced on appeal, on a man who defrauded the State of €1m in tax by mislabelling garlic imports.
However the judge noted that in this case, Tucker’s offences coincided with the rearing and eventual death of one of his children who had severe and complex health issues.
“Initially when I heard this case being opened I was pretty unsympathetic,” Judge Nolan said. “I’ve been asked to look into the hearts of the Irish community and ask what they would do. It would be unjust to impose a custodial sentence in this case.”
“If there wasn’t such circumstances I probably would have imposed a custodial sentence,” he added.
The judge also took into account that Tucker has not been charged with tax evasion but with failing to make returns.
The court heard Tucker has repaid a large portion of the outstanding tax and owes another €81,650.
Tucker of Durham Road, Sandymount pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to failing to make tax returns between 2002 and 2011.
Sergeant Pat Lynch told prosecuting counsel John Byrne BL that a Revenue investigation in 2011 showed Tucker had failed to make tax returns since 2002 despite his accounts showing personal and business earnings during that period.
Tucker made full admissions and told gardaí: “I just put it off. I meant to get the matter sorted.” He went on to enter an early guilty plea.
Defence counsel Paul Comiskey O’Keefe BL said Tucker’s sick child placed “huge” demands on his time during the 10-year period.
Judge Nolan asked counsel: “So you’re saying your client didn’t intend to defraud the Revenue but just didn’t get around to it?”
“In essence, yes judge,” Mr Comiskey O’Keefe replied.
Counsel added that Tucker no longer works as an accountant and is now employed as a business consultant.