TWO BRAY businesswomen who owe the Revenue Commissioners more than €200,000 between them escaped a jail sentence last week when they were given a suspended sentence at Wicklow Circuit Court.
Marian O'Reilly (50), 3 Glendale Drive, Vevay Road, Bray and Noreen Kelly (53), 103 Seacrest, Bray were both charged with two counts of failing to file income tax returns, two counts of failing to file VAT returns, and failing to keep records for the Boathouse Coffee Dock, Bray.
Kelly was further charged with failing to make partnership returns for the same premises.
The sample charges relate to periods between 2004 and 2007.
Paul Garland with the Revenue Commissioners said the Boathouse Coffee Dock was operating since 2003 and was a take away coffee shop which was very busy. He said a conservative estimate of turnover was around €300,000.
He said Kelly and O'Reilly initially employed accountant Michael McLoughlin of McLoughlin Walsh to prepare accounts for 2004 and 2005.
They were advised that the business was not registered for VAT and told it 'needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency'.
Mr. Garland said the matter wasn't addressed and as there was no cooperation the relationship with the accountant ceased as he came off record.
A second accountant was employed and had some books and records.
A third accountant was then employed which showed takings for 300 days in 2006 were €238,000 giving an estimated turnover for that year of between €300,000 and €400,000.
The Revenue Commissioners met with Kelly and O'Reilly in February 2009 and Mr. Garland said the big concern for the Revenue was the fact the ladies had been operating 'in the knowledge they had liabilities' but hadn't addressed them.
The court heard both women were taking €500 in wages each week.
In August, 2007, they opened Coffee and Treats on Quinsborough Road.
Mr. Garland said the outstanding VAT is €93,891 plus interest of €37,868. Kelly has income tax liabilities of €44,668.44 while O'Reilly has income tax liabilities of €24,737.
The court heard paper work had been filed with the Revenue but 'very little remittance has been made in relation to their liabilities.'
He said the last return was made in 2008 adding both businesses are still trading and ' seem to be busy enough'.
Under cross-examination from Damien Sheridan, BL, for Kelly Mr. Garland agreed returns had been made but said ' very little money has been paid',
The court heard the business relationship between O'Reilly and Kelly had broken down and now Kelly operated from one of their ventures while O'Reilly operates from the other.
Judge Michael O'Shea said ' the outstanding amount is indeed substantial and continues to be outstanding and ongoing penalties'.
In respect of each of the women he imposed a two-and-a-half year suspended sentence in respect of each of the charges on condition they be of good behaviour for three years. All sentences are to run concurrently.