Saturday 3 December 2016

PAYE and PRSI of Console staff not passed on to the Revenue

Charity staff unaware their tax deductions went unpaid, writes Dearbhail McDonald, Group Business Editor

Published 17/07/2016 | 02:30

Paul Kelly, former Console boss
Paul Kelly, former Console boss

Staff at disgraced suicide charity Console had their PRSI and PAYE deducted from their income, but their contributions were not passed on to the Revenue Commissioners.

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The 12 full-time staff were completely unaware that their tax contributions - approximately €6,000 a month - were not paid to the taxman for more than a year.

Last week, the Sunday Independent revealed that the taxpayer, through the HSE, continued to fund the bereavement counselling service run by Console, even though its charity tax relief status expired more than a year ago.

The tax relief status expired during a HSE audit of Console.

Now it has emerged that the Revenue Commissioners were not in receipt of relevant PAYE and PRSI deductions.

The charity owed some €63,000 to the Revenue arising from staff taxes that were deducted but not forwarded.

Last Thursday, the Revenue hit the charity with a further €16,000 liability, bringing its overall debt to some €79,000.

Interim CEO David Hall sought to address the tax bill after taking over the now liquidated charity, paying some €5,000, reducing the bill to €74,000.

The outstanding liability will now be dealt with as part of the liquidation process.

"The payslips showed the relevant deductions," said Hall, who said that staff would be offered statutory redundancy but that they were still owed outstanding wages.

"The tax was held over but was not passed on to the Revenue and staff were completely unaware this was happening".

Mr Hall was speaking after the High Court had liquidated Console and it was announced that another charity, Pieta House, will take over the operation of its helpline, the suicide bereavement liaison service and the counselling service.

Console is still listed on the Revenue website as a charity. It has a full tax clearance cert with the HSE and its company registration is intact, a position which has been questioned by Peter Burke, Fine Gael TD for Longford Westmeath.

A provisional liquidator has been appointed to Console, which is being investigated by seven State agencies including the Garda Fraud Bureau and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement which has seized a number of key records.

The Revenue Commissioners said that it cannot comment on the tax affairs of any individual or company.

Sunday Indo Business

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