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Tax offences Father-of-six who evaded paying €100k in tax avoids prison sentence

John O'Sullivan was handed a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to evasion of payment of tax

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John O’Sullivan leaving court

John O’Sullivan leaving court

John O’Sullivan leaving court

A father-of-six who evaded paying €100,000 in tax has received a fully suspended sentence. John O'Sullivan (59) filed tax returns in 2009 which failed to declare money he made from selling two properties on Dublin's North Strand Road in 2007.

O'Sullivan, with an address at The Grove, Hunter's Run, Clonee, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to knowingly or willingly delivering an incorrect return for 2007 and to evasion of payment of tax on June 30, 2009.

He also admitted three charges of failing to make income tax returns for 2009, 2010 and 2011. He has nine previous convictions, all for failing to make income tax returns. The court heard the total of the back income taxes and capital gains tax, including liabilities, was €299,658.

At a sentencing hearing yesterday, Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, confirmed to the court on behalf of Revenue that O'Sullivan has paid back the entire sum. Passing sentence, Judge John Aylmer said the case merited a sentence of two years imprisonment before mitigation.

Judge Aylmer said the failure to pay was very much as a result of the downturn in the economy in 2008.

He said that while O'Sullivan has previous convictions for failure to file tax returns, they were of "a very minor nature" compared with these offences.

The judge said the mitigating circumstances include the plea of guilty. He said the fact that O'Sullivan repaid the sum was "a very significant mitigating factor". Judge Aylmer sentenced O'Sullivan to 18 months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions, including that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour for 12 months.

At a previous sentencing hearing in October 2016, the court heard the accused's son, Shane O'Sullivan, was the owner of Easilocks, a hair extension company that in 2016 had a projected a turnover of €5m.

John Fitzgerald SC, defending, told the court that his client was now working for his son's company.

Mr Fitzgerald said that the father-of-six began buying and selling property during the boom but when this ended, his funds dried up very quickly.

Counsel said that money his client had put on the long finger to discharge his tax liabilities was suddenly no longer available to him.

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