Tax cheat spoke out against hikes in VAT
TAX cheat Mick Wallace was a vocal opponent of the household charge, recommending homeowners not pay the €100 tax.
He joined with several of his colleagues from the Dail Technical Group in supporting those who weren't paying the charge.
In hindsight, the Wexford TD's speech in the Dail debate on the household charge on December 13 makes for particularly interesting reading.
The self-confessed tax cheat gave his views on court prosecutions and the VAT system. Needless to say, he made no reference to his own status as a tax cheat who deliberately filed a false VAT return.
Mr Wallace responded to the emphasis on the implications of a refusal to pay. He said people were frightened enough already and there was no need to frighten them further.
"It will look strange if judges are penalising ordinary people who cannot afford this charge when there's no record of any banker being fined," he said.
"I recall being in court one day and seeing a woman who had stolen a pair of shoes, for which she was sentenced to three months in jail. However, if one manages to steal millions, it is called big business."
Mr Wallace also expressed views on direct taxation and criticised the VAT rates.
"The household charge is a form of indirect taxation. Such taxes are unfair because they take no account of a person's capacity to pay. Unfortunately, this State has one of the lowest levels of direct taxation in Europe but one of the highest levels of indirect taxation," he said.
The Independent TD made further comments about the VAT system. "When indirect taxation, such as VAT, increases there is more uncertainty because one cannot measure one's costs."