News Comment

Monday 22 September 2014

Ex-Revenue chief in Nama tax drama

Published 01/06/2014 | 02:30

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NAMA chairman Frank Daly
NAMA chairman Frank Daly

Cringe! So the former chairman of the Revenue Commissioners runs an organisation that made a complete hames of its taxes. And had to make a big settlement with the taxman. You couldn't make it up.

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Frank Daly was top dog in the Revenue Commissioners until 2008, before being tapped up to chair Nama in 2009. His time in the Revenue saw people who hadn't paid their taxes pursued to the ends of the Earth for the taxman's pound of flesh. So, it was really rather embarrassing that Nama couldn't get its taxes right.

"Following a clarification by the Revenue Commissioners on the tax treatment of board members' expenses, Nama made a payment to Revenue in respect of the years 2010 to 2012," the State's property behemoth said last week. Nama paid €84,865 back to the Revenue. That'd pay for two midwives. Or nearly three newly qualified teachers.

Nama was forced to cough up to the Revenue because it had been paying travel expenses for former Fine Gael election strategist Brian McEnery and Steven Seelig. They were incorrectly handled by Nama, leading to the payout to the Revenue. Most of the sum – around €76,500 – related to Seelig's travel expenses from the US. He used to jet in and out for Nama meetings.

It's not as if Nama isn't awash with former Revenue officials. Its audit committee includes Jim Kelly as an "external member". Kelly is a former senior official with the Revenue and a board member of the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority, and was secretary to the Commission on Taxation. He got €10,000 in fees for the Nama role.

Nama's audit committee is responsible for "compliance with relevant legal, regulatory and taxation requirements".

It included McEnery (the new chairman of the HIQA quango), JP Morgan banker Eilish Finan... and Steven Seelig, whose travel expenses caused most of the problems.

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