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Tax cheat Mick picks up €62,000 lump sum for leader allowance

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Tax cheat Mick Wallace was paid more than €62,000 last month after he began claiming the controversial party leader's allowance.

Tax cheat Mick Wallace was paid more than €62,000 last month after he began claiming the controversial party leader's allowance.

Tax cheat Mick Wallace was paid more than €62,000 last month after he began claiming the controversial party leader's allowance.

TAX cheat Mick Wallace was paid more than €62,000 last month after he began claiming the controversial party leader's allowance.

The Irish Independent has learned the TD received more than 15 months' payments in a lump sum after deciding to accept the untaxed and unvouched allowance, which is worth €41,000 a year.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform confirmed last night that Mr Wallace began claiming the payment last month -- but had asked for it to be backdated to March last year.

The amount paid to date is €62,218, it said.

The extent of the payments comes after the Irish Independent revealed last week that the tax cheat had started claiming the untaxed and unvouched leader's allowance.

The Independent TD refused to say if he decided to draw down the payment following revelations about his massive €2.1m tax bill.

He had previously said in June he would give up half his €92,000 TD's salary to help pay his tax debt. But the new details confirm Mr Wallace began drawing down the leader's allowance in July. He never mentioned the decision to start taking the €41,000 annual allowance when he said he would give up half his wages.

But he is now effectively better off than he was last year in terms of the money he receives from the Oireachtas.

Reform

Mr Wallace was elected as a TD in February of last year, but did not claim the allowance for 2011.

However, an analysis of the Exchequer returns for the year to date shows that the amount paid under the "Payments to Political Parties under the Electoral Acts" increased from €9.23m in 2011 to €9.73m for the same January to August period in 2012 -- an increase of more than €500,000.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform confirmed last night the increased spend arose because of the number of Independent TDs and senators claiming the allowance, along with Mr Wallace's decision to claim the payment.

"He hadn't made any claims at all since March 2011. He made his claim in July 2012 so it would all be included (in the total). Deputy Wallace commencing claiming his payments from July 2012 -- backdated to March 2011 -- would account for (some of) the increase," a spokeswoman said.

The payments are made on a monthly basis, and Independent TDs do not have to provide any receipts to account for how they spend the allowance. The amount is untaxed.

In contrast, the political parties -- which get the allowance paid into party funds based on the number of TDs and senators they have -- must account for the money to the Standards in Public Office Commission.

The €41,000 per year stipend is intended for purely political purposes. TDs are supposed to use it for research, constituency services and other functions.

Newspaper reports yesterday said Mr Wallace planned to use the money to fund research "into different issues that concern the people of Ireland".

Irish Independent