Cantillon: VAT figures in Flannery tale

Details of invoices to the Rehab Group may prove to be of interest to the PAC

Laragh Consulting Ltd, with an address in Finglas, was a company set up by Frank Flannery in February 2007. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Laragh Consulting Ltd, with an address in Finglas, was a company set up by Frank Flannery in February 2007. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Thu, Mar 13, 2014, 01:00

It is usually a good idea in journalism, as in most walks of life, bar probably accountancy, not to get too bogged down in detail. Nevertheless there is a whole host of details associated with Frank Flannery’s invoices to the Rehab Group story that are, or may be, worth noting.

Laragh Consulting Ltd, with an address in Finglas, was a company set up by Flannery ( right ) in February 2007 and of which he was a director. The company was dissolved in January 2009, never having filed accounts. Flannery used the company to bill Rehab, of which he was a director, for “consultancy services” in 2011 and 2012. Last Saturday this newspaper reported the services included political lobbying. Flannery has since resigned as a director of Rehab and as a Fine Gael trustee and director of organisation.

The political adviser appears to have invoiced Rehab on close to a monthly basis in 2012, using Laragh Consulting invoices (with his home address), and giving a VAT number. The then correct VAT rate – 21 per cent – was used in the 2011 invoices seen by The Irish Times , but this rate continued to be used into 2012 in the invoices for that year seen by this newspaper, even though the rate had jumped to 23 per cent in January 2012.

Theoretically, the Laragh Consulting VAT number should have been cancelled once the company was dissolved. Whether this occurs automatically could not be confirmed yesterday, though it is the case that the Companies Office notifies the Revenue about companies that are dissolved. The law obliges all VAT collected, irrespective of VAT registration status, to be forwarded to the Revenue (once netted out against VAT paid).

Flannery could not be contacted yesterday but has told this newspaper already there are no issues with the Revenue, that he is seeking to have Laragh restored, and that the whole mess is due to an “oversight”. The 2012 payments were actually made by way of a Rehab subsidiary in the UK, TBG Learning Ltd. While the Rehab Group accounts note Laragh was paid €66,000 in 2012, the TBG accounts record Laragh being paid “€79,860 (including VAT at 23 per cent)”. This is the equivalent of €66,000 plus 21 per cent. The figures are given when disclosing transactions involving directors. The accounts of both companies are audited by PwC, Dublin.

The sums involved are not huge but a public accounting as to how invoices from a dissolved company quoting an incorrect VAT rate came to be paid, may be among those matters concerning Rehab that will explored by the Dáil Public Accounts Committee.

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