Self-employed driver jailed for 16 months for failing to pay tax

Revenue officials estimate losses to the State come in at over €375,000 in unpaid taxes

Judge Martin Nolan said  the appropriate sentence in the case was a term of imprisonment of 16 months.

Judge Martin Nolan said the appropriate sentence in the case was a term of imprisonment of 16 months.

 

A self-employed truck driver has been jailed for 16 months after he failed to pay tax and VAT returns for six years, leaving the State at a loss of more than €375,000.

Alan Keogh (42) with an address at The Courtyard, St Maelruan’s Park, Old Bawn, Tallaght, Dublin, was charged with 88 counts of failure to deliver VAT and income tax returns.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to 11 sample counts covering dates between January 2010 to October 2016. He has no previous convictions.

Passing sentence on Tuesday, Judge Martin Nolan said he accepted the submission that had Keogh complied fully with the tax code, he would have been entitled to a lot of tax relief.

The judge said the appropriate sentence in the case was a term of imprisonment of 16 months.

At an earlier hearing, the court heard that Keogh had initially been tax compliant as a self-employed truck driver. He got work from a parcel delivery company called GLS and then subcontracted this to several other drivers whom he paid for their services.

Mr David Feehily, an officer from the Revenue Commissioners, told Gráinne O’Neill, prosecuting, that Keogh had registered to pay VAT from July 2004.

He continued to file his returns, with interest, until October 2008. Then in May 2009, Keogh cancelled his VAT registration.

The court heard he wrote on the cancellation form that his business was no longer viable and that his running costs were too high. Under the heading “current occupation”, Keogh wrote that he was going to apply for unemployment benefit and seek a PAYE job.

However, Mr Feehily said subsequent investigations showed that Keogh had not ceased trading and that payments from GLS continued to be lodged into an AIB bank account in his name.

Seóirse Ó Dúnlaing, defending, said that Keogh had a number of subcontractors and that money went out of his account to these drivers. Counsel said that in 2010 GLS paid more than €118,000 to Keogh, who in turn paid about €60,000 to various drivers.

Mr Ó Dúnlaing said that as VAT and income tax returns were mandatory, the matter was always going to come to court. “His head was so far in the sand, that he finds himself in this position today,” he said, adding that his client was “not a man of enormous cognitive functioning”.

Testimonials were presented from Keogh’s father and his current employer who described him as a hard worker.