Wednesday 26 April 2017

Champion trainer's firm in top 10 of tax defaulters

O'Briens settle bill with Revenue for €526,000

Grainne Cunningham and Siobhan Creaton

A COMPANY owned by top horse trainer Aidan O'Brien and his wife is in the top 10 of the latest tax defaulters.

Part of the settlement of €526,077.19 made by Whisperview Trading Ltd -- a company wholly owned by Mr O'Brien and his wife Anne Marie -- was as a result of the O'Briens' company being investigated by the Revenue's offshore assets team.

During the second three months of the year, from April to June 2011, the total yield from Revenue audit and investigation programmes was €113.1m.

This included 114 tax settlements which were each in excess of €12,700 and included tax liabilities, interest and penalties. The 114 settlements totalled €26.25m.

The single biggest settlement, for a total of over €3.6m, was made by Eassda Ireland Ltd, a company which was heavily bankrolled by disgraced banker Michael Fingleton's Irish Nationwide Building Society. The Antrim-based Eassda, which was behind the €60m exclusive Moyvalley Hotel and Golf Resort in Co Kildare, went into receivership in 2009.

Following a Revenue audit case, the company settled with the taxman for a total of €3,639,901.58, in taxes, interest and penalties for underdeclaration of relevant contracts tax.

The settlement made by the O'Briens' company includes €177,639.85 in unpaid taxes plus €348,437.34 in interest and penalties, following a Revenue offshore assets investigation and for underdeclaration of corporation tax and PAYE/PRSI.

In a statement to the Irish Independent, the O'Briens' solicitor, Mark Power, said: "Certain monies earned by Whisperview Trading in the period 2000 to 2003 were lodged to an overseas account.

"These sums were repatriated in full to Ireland in November 2003. Full corporation tax at the prevailing rate was paid on these monies.

"However, the tax rate in 2003 was lower than the rates which applied in the period between 2000 and 2002. The underpayment of tax in respect of the year 2000, 2001 and 2002 gave rise to the additional corporation tax and to the interest and penalties which were also paid."

Mr Power concluded: "The matter is now resolved and Whisperview Trading is fully tax compliant."

The company, based at Piltown, Co Kilkenny, declared net assets of €4.5m last year, up from €3.3m in 2009.

Investigation

Another sizeable settlement was made by a group of farmers from Co Carlow and Co Kildare. Brendan, Michael, Paul and Seamus Osborne, all with an address at Liscolman, Tullow, Co Carlow; Oliver Osborne, of Farmerstown, Athy, Co Kildare; and Patrick Osborne of Fontstown, Athy, were each fined €303,689.35 for underdeclaration of income tax and following a Revenue deposit interest investigation.

Meanwhile, entrepreneur Niall Mellon was fined €700 for failing to hold a liquor licence. And Garda Liam Feeney, of Glenlower, Glencar, Co Sligo was fined €2,500 for the misuse of marked mineral oil, or diesel.

The list of tax fines and penalties shows a rising number of prison sentences, for those who fall foul of the taxman, with those found smuggling or illegally selling cigarettes most likely to get a jail term rather than a fine.

Irish Independent

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