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STATE LOSES pounds 750m TO TAX DODGERS.

TAX cheats swindled the state out of almost three quarters of a BILLION pounds with bogus off-shore accounts.

Revenue officials told the Dail's special investigation into DIRT tax dodging yesterday that they were owed almost pounds 750 million.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) heard almost pounds 4bn was held in non-resident accounts at the start of the 90s.

The taxmen also revealed pounds 500,000 was still owed in one Co Mayo Branch of AIB SIX years after it was supposed to have been settled. The committee was told the once-off tax scam was caused by a "maverick" bank official.

The Jim Mitchell-led inquiry team also asked if politicians had tried to stop investigations into tax fraud.

But Principal Inspector of Taxes Patrick O'Donghaile said he could not recall any such incidents.

He said the tax officials "often had help from elected representatives". During the Revenue Commission investigations last year the taxmen only had limited powers in relation to banks, the inquiry heard.

Revelations about DIRT most frequently came to light in relation to wider tax audits.

In the case of an investigation in Milltown Malbay, Co Clare, out of a total tax take of pounds 2m, more than pounds 200,000 was related to DIRT.

The Committee heard the ACC bank had made a payment of pounds 1.4m last year to cover tax and interest.

Jim Mitchell was informed that this was merely a settlement on one account and not a final figure.
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Author:Brophy, Karl
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 4, 1999
Words:245
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