Taxman sets up special Galway unit to target ‘phoenix’ fraudsters

 Operators of ‘phoenix’ companies in Galway – as well as their families and business partners – are facing audits by the taxman in a zero tolerance crackdown by Revenue.

 Tax inspectors confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that they are keeping detailed files on businesspeople who have liquidated their companies, only to restart under a new identity in order to avoid paying their debts to Revenue and other creditors.

Anyone found dodging taxes faces an audit, as well as the potential for huge tax bills, with interest and penalties applied.

And Revenue don’t stop there – they’re also looking at family members and business associates of people involved in phoenix companies.

The trawls for information can include everything from bank accounts to assets like cars and houses.

A source said: “These are people who rise from the ashes overnight. They close their doors and re-open again just as quickly, and it’s to dodge creditors.

“They’ll list wives or kids as directors in the new company – most commonly it’s to wash out the Revenue debt, or to extinguish a lease on a premises. Revenue know this is happening, and some people are very blatant about it. They’re [Revenue] very active in Galway at the moment,” the source said.

A spokesperson for Revenue confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that they have a dedicated monitoring programme in operation.

Inspectors comb through the personal details of the directors and place them on a ‘watch list’ for two years to see if they comply with tax regulations in any new companies.

Read more in today’s Galway City Tribune