Tuesday 19 September 2017

Landlord jailed for failing to pay almost €500k tax

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Liz Farsaci

A landlord has been jailed for two years for failing to pay almost €500,000 in tax on rental income received from 15 properties.

Paul Smyth (64) of Fortlawn Avenue, Clonsilla, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to failing to pay tax on rental income between 2007 and 2009.

The court heard that the total loss to the Revenue Commissioners amounted to €848,444. This included a total amount of unpaid income tax amounting to €498,949, with the additional amount in interest.

Smyth had a total of 15 properties from which he was collecting rent between 2007 and 2009. Some of this income included rental payments from HSE tenants, while other rental payments were made in cash.

Smyth first began acquiring properties in 2002, and during the investigation by Revenue, which began in 2007, it became apparent that he was using three identities for acquiring properties.

These names were Paul Jones and Daniel Smyth, as well as his own.

During a search in on October 22, 2009, Revenue officers found two driving licences with the fake names in vehicles outside Smyth’s former residence in Co Meath. They were later found to be forgeries.

Through speaking with an accountant and solicitors working on behalf of Smyth, it became apparent that they knew him as Paul Jones.

Sheila Hanley, an officer with the Revenue Commissioners, said they found that a total of €599,760 was lodged into in three accounts owned by Smyth between 2007-2009.

The court heard that Smyth did not engage with Revenue at any point, and an initial court date in relation to the matter was set for March 26, 2014. Smyth failed to attend but was arrested on 10 April 2014 when he arrived in Dublin on a flight from Spain.

The case was adjourned until October 2014, but Smyth also failed to appear for that date.

Smyth was arrested again, this time in Spain on a European arrest warrant in September 2016.

Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, said Smyth has previous convictions for failing to file income tax returns for the years 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. He also has other convictions, including larceny and assault, dating back to 1989.

Colman Fitzgerald SC, defending, told the court that his client was a carpenter by trade who worked very hard to support his five children from his first marriage.

All of Smyth’s properties have been repossessed, he told the court. “For all his work and efforts, he has nothing to show,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

Smyth divorced his first wife, and is now married to a Spanish woman, and has three children with her, ranging in ages from 14 to 4 years of age, the court heard.

Judge Melanie Greally imposed a sentence of two years to be backdated to September 2016, when Smyth was arrested in Spain.

Judge Greally noted: “There was a very significant level of dishonesty associated with Smyth’s actions.”

She added that his guilty plea “is diluted to some extend because it came very late in the day”.

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