Nursing home boss avoids jail over tax

Ann Healy

THE director of two nursing homes has been given a suspended two-and-a-half year sentence for tax evasion.

James Maloney, from Chequer Hill, Dunmore, Co Galway, pleaded guilty at Galway Circuit Criminal Court to tax evasion, admitting he failed to pay capital gains tax (CGT) after the voluntary liquidation of Chalmers Properties Ltd in 2006.

Revenue investigator Aidan Murphy gave evidence that Maloney was one of three directors of the company which bought development land in Ballymoate, Tuam.

The land was sold in 2006 and the company went into liquidation with a net surplus of around €2.5m.

Mr Murphy said the accused, unlike the company's other two directors, had failed to pay CGT on May 1, 2008, which was due after the company was sold.

A subsequent revenue audit confirmed that Maloney's interest in Chalmers Properties had not been disclosed through his income tax returns and no efforts had been made to pay any CGT to Revenue, estimated at €170,159. Mr Murphy said €854,000 had been given to the accused following the voluntary liquidation of the company.

The court heard that Maloney had since come to an arrangement with Revenue where he will repay all of the tax owed in monthly instalments over the next 10 years.

Mr Murphy explained that Maloney has since made payments totalling €89,515.

Counsel for Maloney told Judge Gerard Griffin it would be wrong to imprison his client as he was the "key man" in two nursing homes, one in Cummer, Tuam and the other in Claremorris, Co Mayo, which employed 110 people between them.

He said Maloney had been advised to put the money in a trust bank account but had not done so.

Mr Murphy said if the money had been put in a trust, the accused would not have been prosecuted.

The judge imposed a two-and-a-half year sentence on Maloney but said he was suspending it so that he could continue to repay the full amount owed and on condition he keep the peace and not reoffend for five years.