TD Wallace banned from involvement in firms for six years
Independent TD Mick Wallace has been disqualified by the High Court from involvement in companies for six years arising from his stewardship of the affairs of his construction company, MJ Wallace.
Mr Justice Robert Haughton said Mr Wallace should be disqualified on grounds of unfitness, but should also be given due credit for how he had addressed the primary matter leading to his disqualification - a €1.4m under-declaration of VAT over a two-year period between 2008-2010.
Taking all matters into account, the appropriate period of disqualification was six years and Mr Wallace should also pay the €5,000 costs, plus VAT, of the application, he said.
The judge said the primary reason for disqualification was the under-declaration of some €1.4m VAT by the company to the Revenue between 2008 and 2010, which was "deliberate and systemic" and amounted to a "fraud on the Revenue".
He accepted the under-declaration was for a limited period, was around the time of the worst recession during the history of the State and when some other companies experiencing similar difficulties also deferred tax payments in efforts to continue to trade.
He accepted an effort to remain in business was the motivation for the under-declaration and, when the company later met with Revenue, full disclosure of underpayment was made, the matter was dealt with promptly and an agreement was reached.
The agreement with Revenue was the reason Mr Wallace got a tax clearance certificate in 2011 and 2012, he said.
It was also to its credit the company repaid Revenue €10,000 monthly until it ceased to trade after being placed in receivership by ACC Bank in 2011.
The judge said Mr Wallace had accepted the under-declaration was an error of judgment and had made a Dáil statement in 2012 to that effect.
On the basis of the VAT issue alone, he was satisfied the jurisdiction to disqualify was triggered and was also satisfied the court should not exercise its discretion in favour of Mr Wallace. The loss to the Revenue and therefore the exchequer was "simply too great" in this case, the judge said.