Tax hit sinking many pubs
PUBS around the country are trading illegally without a liquor licence because they cannot get their tax affairs in order due to a profit-crash during the recession.
A publican must have an up-to-date tax clearance certificate to renew a licence, but many are not renewing their annual licences because they simply cannot pay their tax arrears.
Some are continuing to trade on without a legal licence, while others are simply shutting their doors.
Publicans could, in the past, borrow money from the bank, or extend their overdraft, to settle with the taxman.
A publican's licence is issued annually and expires on September 30 every year for renewal on October 1.
However, the Sunday Independent has learned that many publicans are trading without a licence because they cannot obtain a tax clearance certificate from the Revenue Commissioners.
West Limerick TD Niall Collins, who first raised the issue late last year, said he had received a number of calls from publicans in his constituency who are finding it difficult to meet licence renewal obligations.
"A number of them from around the county would have been on to me asking for assistance to agree a payment schedule with Revenue -- a lot of them would be falling behind on their licensing commitments," said Deputy Collins.
A nationwide survey showed the drinks industry lost 7,000 jobs last year.
Stricter drink-driving regulations, the smoking ban and the downturn in the economy has meant the closure of hundreds of public houses.
Publicans are also blaming below-cost sales of alcohol in supermarkets for the dramatic downturn in trade.