Father of two avoids jail after failing to pay over €120,000 in tax

by Gazette Reporter
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A father-of-two who failed to pay over €120,000 in tax has received a fully suspended sentence.

Mark Aspland (59) failed to remit VAT in the period between 2010 and 2016. During this time he submitted invoices to clients bearing the VAT number of a company that had ceased to be registered for VAT in 2008.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that he had failed to register for VAT as a sole trader during this period.

Aspland of Westbourne Lodge, Templeogue, pleaded guilty to counts of failing to submit a VAT return and failing to remit VAT during taxable periods between July 2010 and August 2016. He has previous convictions for failing to file income tax returns and speeding.

Passing sentence, Judge Pauline Codd said Aspland began to “bury his head in the sand” in regard to his finances and this “spiralled out of control”.

Judge Codd said that although a report from the Probation Service was “largely positive”, the accused demonstrated a “limited awareness” of the effect of his offending on Revenue and other taxpayers. She said he has been assessed as being at a low-risk of reoffending.

She said that revenue fraud was not a victimless crime. She noted that the accused had better opportunities than many who come before the court, yet he decided to “cheat the system”.

Judge Codd sentenced Aspland to two years imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety for three years on strict conditions, including that he make payments of €800 a month for the duration of the suspension.

She also ordered that he pay the entirety of a pension fund to Revenue by the end of April of next year. The court heard this fund is valued at approximately €37,000.

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