Cork company director gets suspended sentence and €10,000 fine for tax offences

Judge says Brian Murphy, an accountant, engaged in criminal behaviour ‘for his own gain’ and ‘should have known better’

STOCK: The Courts of Criminal Justice on Parkgate St. Dublin
Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times
The Criminal Courts of Justice Exterior view

A company director who knowingly made incorrect income tax returns and obtained a repayment of VAT after he produced an incorrect document has been given a suspended sentence and fined €10,000.

Brian Murphy, who Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard previously lived at Abbey View, Ballea Road, Carrigaline, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to five charges dating back to a period between 2008 and 2012 contrary to the Taxes Consolidation Act of 1997, as amended by the Finance Act of 1999.

Murphy, an accountant by profession, who is in his 50s, pleaded guilty to two income tax charges and three charges relating to VAT. He pleaded guilty to sample charges and was sentenced on a full-facts basis.

Remy Farrell SC, for Murphy, said the offending carried out by his client was “not well-thought-out” and proved to be “only advantageous in the short term”. He told Judge Colin Daly that Murphy was under “excruciating financial pressure” and his offending was “always going to come back and bite” him.


“All the tax you are concerned with has been repaid and the VAT repaid. What is being dealt with now (by my client) is interest and penalties,” he said.

Murphy has entered into an arrangement to pay the interest and penalties over the coming years, the court heard.

Judge Daly said he took the financial pressure the accused was under and his “previous good character” into to account when sentencing him. He said Murphy contributed to the community through charity work.

He said that while the offences were of “some vintage”, Murphy “should have known better” than to engage in such criminal behaviour given he “had a knowledge of finance and tax”.

He said Murphy consciously engaged in the behaviour “for his own gain” and that many people had struggled around the period of the offences without turning to “fraudulent activities”.

Judge Daly imposed a two-year prison sentence which he suspended in its entirety. He also fined Murphy €10,000 and ordered him to undertake 240 hours of community service.

Murphy, who has no previous convictions, was remanded on bail to appear before the court again on Thursday to finalise the community service issue.

The court heard from Gerard Cosgrave, an assistant principal officer with the Revenue Commissioners, who said Murphy made several admissions when he was interviewed and co-operated with the investigation. He said that ultimately the total additional tax liability was €456,000.

“Interest of €126,000 and penalties of €342,000 resulted in a total of over €924,000. Mr Murphy has made payments of €456,000. But interest and penalties remain, €468,000 is outstanding.”

Murphy pleaded guilty to knowingly making an incorrect tax return in respect of income tax for the tax period from January 1st to December 31st, 2009. He also admitted knowingly delivering an incorrect tax return in connection with VAT for Securemed Ltd, where he served as a director, for the period January 1st to February 28th, 2011.

The court heard that Murphy also knowingly admitted obtaining a repayment of VAT to the amount of €54,600 on June 1st, 2011. This followed him knowingly producing an incorrect document to Revenue on May 4th, 2011, which was purported to be an invoice from a solicitor to Securemed Ltd, of Carrigaline, in connection with VAT. He also claimed a repayment of tax to which he was not entitled on July 5th, 2010, when he obtained a repayment of income tax in the amount of €68,767.

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