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Ahern to finish Dail career with cloud hanging over tax affairs

BERTIE Ahern will finish his final term as a TD without submitting an up-to-date tax certificate to the Dail.

All public representatives must file a certificate from the Revenue Commissioners confirming that they are tax compliant. The former Taoiseach, who is not running in the general election, came under scrutiny in 2008 over failing to supply a cert within six months of the 2007 election, as required under the law.

Instead, he supplied an "application statement", confirming that he was in negotiations with the Revenue Commissioners over his tax situation.

It is believed that Revenue is waiting for the Mahon Tribunal report into donations and payments received by Mr Ahern before they deal with his tax affairs.

But with the election around the corner this is unlikely to happen before the next Dail, meaning Mr Ahern will have served a full term as a TD without being able to prove he was tax compliant.

Two years ago Fine Gael asked the Dail ethics watchdog to investigate Mr Ahern's 2002 tax certificate, questioning how it was possible for Mr Ahern to make a declaration of tax compliance in 2002 when he was unable to obtain a certificate in 2008 because of issues dating back to the mid-1990s.

The matter was put on hold when he supplied confirmation to the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) that he was in discussions with the Revenue.

Mr Ahern is understood to have made a provisional payment of some €70,000 to the Revenue but insists he may ultimately be found to have no tax liability.

SIPO can reopen an investigation into any breach of ethics law, following a Revenue conclusion on Mr Ahern's tax affairs.

Last night, a Fianna Fail spokesman said that the situation with regard to Mr Ahern's tax affairs had not changed.

Irish Independent