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colossal tally Small time Offaly car dealer James Joseph Daly reveals his 'disgust' at massive €11.7m tax bill

News this week that respected local trader James Joseph Daly had been hit with the mammoth bill caused shock in the small Offaly village of Cloghan

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James Daly is flummoxed at his tax bill.

James Daly is flummoxed at his tax bill.

James Daly is flummoxed at his tax bill.

This small-town car dealer doesn't even own a garage but now finds himself on the hook to Revenue for a staggering €11.7 million.

News this week that respected local trader James Joseph Daly had been hit with the mammoth bill caused shock in the small Offaly village of Cloghan.

Incredulous locals remarked that Daly, known as JJ, didn't have a garage and, although is frequently seen driving 'yellow-reg' imported cars, was hardly in business on a scale that could have led to such a debt.

Sipping a cup of tea outside his home in the Graysmeadow estate, Daly, who set up his machinery sales company 'Any Gear' in 2005, was inclined to agree.

"It started at pennies at this time of the day," he said of the first murmurings of a tax bill on his first visit from Revenue inspectors.

"They [the tax inspectors] left here and they went home.

"They upped the bill by €50,000 from here to Athlone.

"When I went to see about going to sort it out or pay it, they said no! A man actually laughed in my face.

"And it's now at what it's at - it's disgusting."

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James Daly tells our reporter Patrick that he’s a victim.

James Daly tells our reporter Patrick that he’s a victim.

James Daly tells our reporter Patrick that he’s a victim.

 

Revenue says the staggering sums owed by Daly were calculated as a result of an investigation into his affairs for non-declaration of income tax and VAT.

Taxes owed come to €4.6 million and are accompanied by an interest bill of €2.5 million and penalties of €4.7 million.

The motor dealer's case was one of 30 settlements published in the list released on Tuesday.

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But his bill alone accounted for more than half the total settlements of €21 million reached.

So who is JJ Daly and how ever in the world did it come to this?

Company documents show Daly set up his company 'Any Gear' on August 12, 2005.

The nature of his business, which he operated out of his home, then listed as Banagher St, was 'selling, buying but mainly acting as an agent of facilities in the sale/purchase of goods such as trailers, caravans, cars and tractors'.

The setting up of the business was an entirely legitimate move for an above-board trader.

Daly even added a note advising the Company Records Office to phone him if they had 'any queries on this form'.

Asked how someone who started off so low key could rise to top the tax defaulters list, Daly responded almost reluctantly: "I'm almost afraid to talk to you because if I talk to you I could get myself into more trouble."

When told he didn't strike our reporter as having the appearance of a multi-millionaire, Daly agreed.

"No," he said.

"I didn't have that money.

"And I didn't back it on horses, by the way. I didn't earn that money - I couldn't have.

"I mean, look at my windows," he said, pointing to the poor condition of the window frames of the house behind him.

"I'm not some multi-millionaire, I'm not some dealer and I'm not some scumbag. Go on up the village and ask anyone about me and they'll tell you - I'm not a dodge.

"This thing started, it's been here and it's been ruining my life. I just done what I was told because I couldn't take any more of it and I just signed the [settlement] forms.

"I didn't even read them - you know more about it then I do."

Asked how the sum of €11.7 million could be attributed to him, he answered: "It's our country, go and look at everything else that's in it.

"Go and look at the country, it's riddled with drugs … full to the b****x with drugs.

"Who's supplying them? Who's bringing them in? We all know.

"Everybody knows everything that is going on in this country and nobody is doing anything about it.

"You go to the Revenue and ask them: How did they come to the figure?

"You go and ask them. Ask the Revenue how did they come up with that figure and that will be an embarrassing question.

"They disallowed everything I bought but I had to get it somewhere, didn't I?

"Obviously I did [have to pay for the machinery] or I couldn't have got it and I couldn't have sold it."

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Daly says he doesn’t go anywhere flash and wears cheap clothes.

Daly says he doesn’t go anywhere flash and wears cheap clothes.

Daly says he doesn’t go anywhere flash and wears cheap clothes.

 

Daly said he primarily dealt in cars.

"It wasn't tractors," he said. "It was cars.

"And I have the purchases where I bought them, I have the shipping documents where I brought them in and I sold them. I had the Revenue with me and nobody ever asked me that. They taxed me on the sale of everything I sold.

"So if I bought that van today and I gave you £5,000 for it and I sold it for £6,000, that's £6,000.

"And they taxed me on the £6,000.

"That's why I'm saying - ask them."

Asked whether there is any possibility of him ever paying the €11.7 million debt, he answered: "We'll see … but I don't have €11.7 million at the moment and that's for sure …

Pressed again, he pointed to his worn work jeans, and said: "I'll have to leave that to your own imagination.

"I bought this t-shirt, it's the most expensive t-shirt I've bought this year, and I gave €22 for it.

"I'm driving a van. I don't have a Ferrari. I don't go anywhere flash. I go to the Galway Races two days every year and that's my holiday.

"I worked yesterday for a man. I drove a 20-year-old lorry to Dublin because no-one else would drive it and that's how I'm making a living."

Asked about his house, Daly responded: "The Revenue owns it. But I'm not getting into it, see you're getting a load of auld s**t out of me now and I shouldn't be saying it.

"But what are they going to do with me? If I was a criminal I wouldn't be standing here this evening, I'd be in jail.

"But there's no criminality in this. I'm the victim in this.

"I'm finished with it now, I've going in. Let me live my life. How many people are committing suicide every day because of the likes of this?

"I'm an honest fella, I'm no angel, but I'm not a gangster or a scumbag or anything like that. We're a respectable family and none of us have ever been in trouble.

"We're ordinary people. But if you want a story put this question in your paper: Why would people rather see the Grim Reaper coming than the Revenue?"

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