Thursday 19 October 2017

TD's statement leaves numerous questions unanswered

Fiona O'Shea

IT is not at all clear, following Mick Wallace's statement to the Dail, as to what actually happened with the Revenue Commissioners in relation to the false VAT declaration which he said last week he had "knowingly" made.

He did not repeat that statement in the chamber yesterday but did refer to the "motive" behind the underpayment being to delay payment in order to trade his way out of difficulty.

Mr Wallace said that in 2010 the company made a full declaration to the Revenue and opened its books. He said that an agreement was reached with Revenue following a full audit and an instalment arrangement for payment was put in place.

The arrangement continued up until November 2011, by which time a receiver had been appointed to the company and it was no longer, apparently, able to pay the instalments.

However, this raises the question of why, if the agreement was reached in October 2010, the settlement was not published until June of this year?

The defaulters' list should only include settlements reached in a specified three-month period. In the case of the list published earlier this week, that period was from January 1 to March 31, 2012.

If the company had made a full disclosure in 2010 and had agreed a settlement, then, under Revenue's Audit Code of Practice, the settlement would not have been on any defaulters' list. Disclosure with payment means no publication, even if the company could not pay in full upfront.

From my years of working in Revenue, I would not expect it to comment on individual cases, even if the individual were to authorise them to do so.

Revenue's more immediate problem will be to find a process that will accept payment by Mr Wallace of half of his Dail salary every year for the next 30 or so years.

• Fiona O'Shea is a former employee of the Revenue Commissioners.

Irish Independent

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