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Friday 19 September 2014

Taxpayers hit with €333,000 bill for Leinster House

Settlement with Revenue after 'careless behaviour'

Published 11/06/2014 | 02:30

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The settlement arose following issues with taxi and other allowances for staff over a number of years

THE taxpayer has had to foot the bill after the body that runs Leinster House made a settlement of over €333,000 with the Revenue Commissioners.

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The settlement, which comes as a major embarrassment to the public service, arose following issues with taxi, car and meal allowances for staff over a number of years.

Revenue described much of what it found as "careless behaviour with significant consequences", a category that results in a 30pc penalty being added to a tax bill.

The settlement was disclosed when Revenue included the Houses of the Oireachtas Service on a list of 113 tax defaulters for which settlements or determinations totalling €23.25m were made in the first three months of the year.

The service employs 378 civil servants providing administrative services in the Oireachtas.

Revenue began auditing it in February last year after Oireachtas officials made a voluntary disclosure that staff had availed of taxis outside of times and circumstances allowed by Revenue.

The service has a practice of allowing staff get taxis home if they work past 10pm. However, an internal review found many cases where taxis were taken before this time, as well as non-business journeys.

This led to a benefit-in-kind tax liability of €119,205. Interest of €17,019 and a penalty of €35,761 were also applied over the taxi issue.

During the audit, additional issues were uncovered relating to benefit-in-kind on car use. There were also tax implications from meal allowances.

The additional issues resulted in a bill of €161,912 in tax, interest and penalties.

A spokeswoman for the service said the bill had been paid last February and had been factored into its budget for the year. The settlement was not related to any elected politicians and was purely in connection with staff tax issues, she said.

Of the 113 cases published yesterday, 48 were for amounts exceeding €100,000, with 13 of these exceeding €500,000.

The largest settlement involved a retired medical consultant, who was hit for €2.6m in tax, interest and penalties.

Maurice Fenton, of Cunningham Road, Dalkey, Co Dublin, was investigated by the Revenue in a case involving under- declared income tax and capitals gains tax. He did not return calls seeking comment.

A retired Dublin guesthouse proprietor also made a settlement of €2.2m in tax, interest and penalties.

Clare Campbell of St Mary's Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, was audited by the Revenue in a case involving under-declared capital gains tax.

Robert Campbell, an employee listed at the same address, made a settlement of €555,001.

A settlement of €978,775 was levied against Cork-based casino operators Harlechdale Ltd, now in liquidation, for under-declaration of VAT.

Income

Car dealers Patrick and Simon Butterly, from Lusk, Co Dublin, made settlements of €585,826 and €596,175 respectively in tax, interest and charges for under declaration of income tax following an investigation into offshore assets.

Patrick Butterly said the brothers had considered contesting the Revenue claim but decided to settle to avoid a lengthy legal battle.

Mr Butterly said both men had paid their settlements and the matter was "done and dusted".

Kevin Day, a director in a number of companies from Whitegate, Co Cork, made a settlement of €515,606 in tax, interest and penalties.

Irish Independent

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