Business Irish

Thursday 18 October 2018

High-profile journalist stung with €77k Revenue settlement

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

High-profile journalist Tom McGurk says he “never deliberately attempted to evade tax” after the latest Revenue Commissioners defaulters’ list revealed he recently made an almost €77,000 settlement with the taxman.

The settlement was related to the under-declaration of income tax, according to the defaulters’ list.

Tom McGurk
Tom McGurk

But the writer, broadcaster and Sunday Business Post columnist insisted that he has never sought to avoid his liabilities.

“I never deliberately attempted to evade tax and all of the outstanding tax amounts have now been repaid,” he said in a statement this evening.

“For legal reasons I am constrained in what I can say other than to point up what is already on the public record,” he added.

An accountancy firm that was previously used by Mr McGurk, Houlihan Cushnahan & Co, is currently being sued by a large number of medical consultants who were also previously forced to make settlements with the Revenue Commissioners.

They are suing the accountancy firm because of advice it provided to them on their tax affairs.

“I initiated high court proceedings in 2016 against my former accountants Houlihan Cushnahan & Co for negligence and secondly, this firm currently has a large number of other actions pending against them also,” said Mr McGurk.

The list also shows that a company of which the rugby pundit is a director, Rima Productions, has also made a settlement with the taxman.

The company coughed up a total of €160,452 for the under-declaration of corporation tax, VAT, PAYE, PRSI and USC.

The other director of Rima is Mr McGurk’s wife, PR guru Caroline Kennedy.

Rima’s settlement included almost €88,000 in tax due, €37,200 in interest, and €35,200 in penalties.

Mr McGurk’s settlement with the Revenue included just under €43,000 in unpaid tax, €16,500 in interest, and €17,164 in penalties.

While the settlements made by Mr McGurk (pictured) and Rima Productions are the most high-profile, they weren’t the biggest hauls made by the Revenue in their latest swoop on defaulters.

The single largest settlement by an individual was for €2.2m.

That was made by horse trainer James Leavey, of Friarstown, Co Kildare. The payment was for the under-declaration of capital gains tax, and included €1.04m in unpaid tax, €444,600 in interest, and €753,000 in penalties.

The next largest individual settlement was made by John Sheridan, a painter and tiler from Courtown Park, Kilcock in Co Kildare. He made a €1.5m settlement with Revenue for the under-declaration of income tax, relevant contract tax, and VAT. The tax element of his settlement amounted to €654,580.

The single largest settlement in the latest trawl by the Revenue Commissioners was for €3.2m by Westman Plant and Civils Ltd, a company formerly based in Ballinasloe, Co Galway. The company was only established in 2014, and went into liquidation in May this year on foot of a winding up petition presented to the High Court by the Revenue Commissioners.

Westman Plant and Civil’s sole director is Kevin Rabbitte of Clonberne, Ballinalsoe, Co Galway. 

A UK company of which Mr Rabbitte was a director, Go Plant Rental Ltd, was compulsorily dissolved in 2016.

The Revenue Commissioners said that of the settlements revealed in its latest defaulters’ list, 34 were for amounts of more than €100,000. Seven of those cases exceeded €500,000, and three topped €1m.

Farmers, hairdressers, medical consultants and landlords were among those who made settlements with Revenue.

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