A father of six who evaded paying €100,000 in tax has received a suspended sentence.
John O’Sullivan (59) filed tax returns in 2009 which failed to declare money he made from selling two properties on Dublin’s North Strand Road in 2007.
The defendant, with an address at The Grove, Hunter's Run, Clonee, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to knowingly or willingly delivering an incorrect return for 2007 and to evasion of payment of tax on June 30, 2009.
He also admitted three charges of failing to make income tax returns for 2009, 2010 and 2011. He has nine previous convictions, all for failing to make income tax returns.
The court heard that the total of the back income taxes and capital gains tax, including liabilities, was €299,658.
At a sentencing hearing on Monday, Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, confirmed to the court on behalf of Revenue that O’Sullivan has paid back the entire sum.
Passing sentence, Judge John Aylmer said that given the maximum sentence is one of five years imprisonment, this was a case which would be on the upper end of the lower end of the scale. He said it merited a sentence of two years imprisonment before mitigation.
Judge Aylmer said the failure to pay was very much as a result of the unforeseen downturn in the economy in 2008. He said that while O’Sullivan has previous convictions for failure to file tax returns, they were of “a very minor nature” compared to these offences.
The judge said the mitigating circumstances include the plea of guilty. He said the fact that O’Sullivan repaid the sum was “a very significant mitigating factor”.
He sentenced O’Sullivan to 18 months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions, including that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for 12 months.
At a previous sentencing hearing in October 2016, the court heard that the accused's son, Shane O'Sullivan, was the owner of Easilocks, a hair extension company that in 2016 had a projected turnover of €5 million.
John Fitzgerald SC, defending, told the court that his client was now working for his son’s company. He provided the judge with a folder detailing the many celebrity endorsements of the hair extension product and features from fashion magazines Vogue and Cosmopolitan.
Counsel said his client had not taken on any responsibilities for the tax affairs of Easilocks, whose turnover grew from €700,000 in 2013 to €1.9million in 2014.
Mr Fitzgerald said that the father-of-six began buying and selling property during the boom but when this ended, his funds dried up very quickly.
Counsel said that money his client had put on the long finger to discharge his tax liabilities was suddenly no longer available to him.
He said the success of his son’s company had resulted in a sudden and radical change in his client’s financial circumstances.