Cowen's brother listed as a tax defaulter by Revenue
FINANCE Minister Brian Cowen has acknowledged the importance of pursuing those who default on their tax obligations after his own brother was named in the latest list of tax defaulters.
Publican Christopher Cowen of River Street, Clara, Co Offaly made a settlement with Revenue for €96,351 in taxes and penalties for under-declaration of income tax and VAT.
In a statement, the Tanaiste said that without a rigorous system, including appropriate sanctions, those who met their obligations would be let down by the State.
Mr Cowen said he accepted his position as a public representative meant close attention would be paid to his financial affairs.
But he pointed out: "I had and have no involvement whatsoever in my brother's business so it would not be fair to him were any greater media attentions paid to his Revenue difficulties on account of my position in government.
"I know from him that he gave full co-operation during the Revenue audit and I understand that these matters have now been resolved."
His brother's case was one of 120 settlements totalling €22.85m which were accepted by the Revenue Commissioners for the last quarter of 2007. Three of the settlements were for more than €1m while 10 exceeded €500,000.
The latest list of defaulters includes 14 settlements totalling €3.34m related to bogus non-resident holders. Among those who settled were 22 farmers and 20 company directors along with a number of publicans and shopkeepers.
It brings to €142m the amount collected by the taxman last year as a result of revenue investigations. Of the 554 cases last year, 114 settlements totalling €38.8m related to bogus non-resident holders while a further 113 totalling €42.04m related to Revenue's investigations into offshore funds.
For the first time, the tax defaulters list contains no settlements in cases where a taxpayer died before a settlement has been agreed with Revenue.
In such cases, Revenue will no longer seek recovery of penalties from the deceased's personal representatives.
Among the defaulters who settled tax bills in the last quarter was Samuel Field-Corbett, a business associate of Charles Haughey's former accountant Des Traynor. Mr Traynor has been described as one of the main architects of the Ansbacher deposits system.
Mr Field-Corbett, with an address at Pine Valley Avenue, Rathfarnham, Dublin, was among the witnesses at the Moriarty Tribunal which was set up to investigate payments to Mr Haughey and Michael Lowry.
He made a settlement of €1.15m with Revenue for underdeclaration of income tax related to a Revenue offshore assets investigation case. The settlement included a €315,000 tax bill and more than €834,000 in interest and penalties.
The biggest single settlement of €1.5m was made by company director Colm Kehoe of Walterstown, Knockbridge, Dundalk, for under-declaration of income tax and VAT.
James Souhan of The Watercourse, Templeogue, Dublin, whose occupation was listed as a landlord, made the second largest settlement of €1.4m for under-declared income tax and VAT related to a bogus non-resident account case. The bill included more than €1m in interest and penalties.
Farmer Bernard Maguire of Finaway, Ballyjamesduff, Co Cavan, made a settlement of €850,000 for under-declared income tax after a Revenue offshore assets investigation.