Businessman fails in challenge to €300,000 tax demand

Cab says man failed to produce satisfactory evidence that he did not have undisclosed income

A businessman suspected of receiving the proceeds of crime has failed in an attempt to challenge a tax demand of almost €300,000 from the Criminal Assets Bureau. File photograph

A businessman suspected of receiving the proceeds of crime has failed in an attempt to challenge a tax demand of almost €300,000 from the Criminal Assets Bureau. File photograph

 

A businessman suspected of receiving proceeds of crime has failed in an attempt to challenge a tax demand of almost €300,000 from the Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab).

The Tax Appeals Commission ruled the unnamed man was liable to pay a tax bill of €296,533 based on additional miscellaneous income of more than €600,000 for the periods 2002 to 2007 and 2011 to 2012.

The man disputed that he had any additional tax liability and claimed the assessments by the bureau were only estimates, excessive and not in accordance with his filed income tax returns. He had declared income of €161,601 between 2002 and 2007.

However, the commission heard some €1.1 million had passed through his and his wife’s bank accounts, which excluded sales of horses, lotto wins and sales of various businesses. It also emerged he had received €132,640 from personal injury claims.

The man told the commission he could fully account for all income that passed through his accounts in an “open, transparent and fully compliant manner”, but argued he should only be taxed on profit rather than gross income. The bureau said “nothing could be further from the truth”.

The commission heard the man and his wife paid just €21,203 in tax between 2002 and 2007 and 2011 and 2012, which left them with a net disposable income of €166,124. With this money they maintained five children, bought four properties in Spain and two properties in Ireland, served the mortgage on their family home, bought and refurbished a number of cars, owned horses and pedigree dogs, went on holidays and paid for a wedding.

‘Entirely tactical decision’

The Cab said the man was involved in several businesses between 2002 and 2007, including garden furniture manufacturing, plant hire and a hair salon. It claimed he declined to submit his bank statements in evidence in what seemed to be “an entirely tactical decision”. It was “stark” that he could call no witnesses to support his version of events, the bureau said.

The man said he and his wife had funds available from profits, savings, social welfare payments and settlements for personal injuries which allowed them to purchase modest properties at home and abroad. He insisted they had no undisclosed income from unknown sources.

The bureau said the man was entirely the author of his own downfall and had failed to discharge the burden of proof as he had not produced satisfactory evidence to prove he was not in receipt of additional undisclosed income.

Tax Appeal Commissioner Conor Kennedy said the man’s claims that the bureau had interfered with potential witnesses was “not only disingenuous but it is also contemptuous”.

“In fact, it was difficult to find any aspect of the appellant’s evidence that was credible,” Mr Kennedy said, adding that the man had frustrated his own appeal and any prospect he had of getting his tax assessment reduced.