Tuesday 17 October 2017

Checkpoints clamp down on tax and benefit cheats

Joan Burton revealed cases
Joan Burton revealed cases

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

BUILDERS and couriers have been found to be claiming social welfare payments after being stopped on the road at anti-fraud checkpoints.

The details of cases were revealed by Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, who said that there had been 230 such checkpoints over the past two-and-a-half years.

She said one of the people stopped had been a passenger in a building trade van and had given a false name.

"Further investigations revealed his true identity and the employer co-operated to give details of his earnings. He was in receipt of social welfare payments. His case has been recommended for prosecution," she said.

In another case, a man on the dole in Dublin was stopped at a checkpoint driving a courier van. He said he was too busy at work and had not had time to sign off. His dole payment was subsequently terminated.

Ms Burton went on to describe how a driver of a van was stopped at another checkpoint. He was a self-employed IT engineer, but checks revealed he had paid no tax since 2006.

"Revenue carried out an audit, agreed a settlement of €30,500 and he made a payment in full within a month of being interviewed. He was obviously fully occupied, but not paying tax," she said.

The multi-agency checkpoints involve social welfare inspectors, gardai, and Revenue officials. So far this year, there have been 20 anti-fraud checkpoints which have led to the recovery of €130,000.

Ms Burton said the checkpoints were helping to catch people involved in motor tax evasion as well as social welfare and tax fraud.

Irish Independent

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