herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Taxi driver who owed Revenue €600k avoids jail

Michael Gill
Michael Gill

THIS is the Dublin taxi driver who was caught owing €636,000 in undeclared income tax and penalties.

Taxi driver Michael Gill (57) has been ordered to carry out 220 hours' community service.

Mr Gill informed Revenue through a hired tax consultant that he owed €163,649 in undeclared income from a home maintenance business between 2003 and 2008.

But Revenue discovered Gill had further undeclared income from a coal-delivery business, which brought the total tax and penalties to €636,447.

Gill hadn't told his tax consultant about two bank accounts in which he deposited cheques from customers in his coal delivery business.

Gill, of Hillcrest Park, Glasnevin, Dublin, had pleaded guilty before a trial date to charges of delivering incorrect tax returns to the Collector General between December 31, 2003 and 2007. He has no previous convictions.

Inspector of Taxes Sheila Hanley said since the investigation, Gill fully engaged with Revenue and had paid over €565,358 to date.

She added that Revenue accepts Gill is unable to pay the €71,689 outstanding.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring said that in lieu of a two-year prison term, she was ordering Gill carry out the community work.

haulage

Gill became a taxi driver after his haulage business closed in 1995. He submitted income tax returns from 2004 to 2008 by Revenue's online system through the National Taxi Drivers Union.

Union officials interviewed him on his income without any access to his records. Gill said he earned between €13,000 and €18,000 for those years. Revenue began investigating Gill in a routine profiling in April 2010 and he was asked for all his bank statements and details of assets and liabilities.

Ms Hanley told Anne Rowland BL, prosecuting, that the hired tax consultant told Revenue that Gill had €448,016 undisclosed income.

This meant the grandfather-of-two owed €163,649, which he paid in 2011.

The tax consultant informed Revenue that his client couldn't pay the extra €223,932 in interest and penalties.

Ms Hanley told Ms Rowland that the consultant had drawn his figures from analysis of three bank accounts without access to any other records.

She said Gill also had two First Active accounts and transferred the money in these to a €300,000 investment bond with Ulster Bank.

Gill had not told his consultant about these assets.

When Revenue interviewed Gill under caution he accepted he kept no books or records.

Ms Hanley agreed with Bernard Condon SC, defending, that his client is a very hard-working man and now has a Tax Clearance Certificate so he can continue as taxi driver.

Mr Condon submitted to Judge Ring that his client could have been more forthcoming with the Revenue Commissioners.

He submitted that Gill had been putting money together for his family and himself.

sophisticated

He said it was not a "sophisticated, planned fraud" and his client did not have accounts in "Jersey or Liechtenstein".

Counsel submitted that Gill is "deeply embarrassed and ashamed of his behaviour" and is now tax compliant.

Ms Rowland told Judge Ring that the DPP deemed the offence at the higher end of the middle range and said the penalty carried a €129,000 fine or five years in prison.

hnews@herald.ie

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