NEW REVENUE RULES CREATE ‘UNFAIR BURDEN’ - New guidelines from the Revenue Commissioners place too much responsibility on businesses to police VAT fraud perpetrated by others, according to The Irish Times’ piece on comments by a tax director at Deloitte specialising in VAT.

John Stewart says VAT fraud, where one company charges another VAT and fails to pay it over to Revenue, was “big business”. He says it is relatively straightforward to perpetrate and has a cost to EU member states running to billions of euros.

According to EU VAT law, if a business “should have known” that it was involved in VAT fraud, it can be held liable for the VAT and possibly be made to pay penalties.

As VAT on goods in Ireland is generally at a rate of 23 per cent, the potential cost for a business can be significant. Therefore, businesses must take steps to ensure they are not an unwilling participant in transactions that could ultimately be connected with a VAT fraud, Mr Stewart says.

“Revenue has just issued detailed guidelines setting out what a business can do to avoid being penalised in this way where there is VAT fraud,” he adds.


HP ACCUSES AUTONOMY FOUNDER OF FRAUD – The Financial Times reports that Hewlett-Packard has levelled an accusation of fraud directly at former Autonomy chief executive Mike Lynch for the first time yesterday as it ratcheted up the war of words over the former software company.

The US group said it was preparing a lawsuit in Britain against Mr Lynch and Shushovan Hussain, Autonomy’s former chief financial officer, over its disastrous 2011 acquisition of the British company.

HP took an $8.8bn writedown the year after the deal, more than $5bn of it tied to alleged accounting misrepresentations. It has always blamed Autonomy’s management for the debacle, but it had not personally accused Mr Lynch of fraud.

In its latest legal salvo, HP targeted the former Autonomy boss directly, saying: “The shareholder plaintiffs... now agree that Hussain, along with Autonomy’s founder and CEO, Michael Lynch, should be held accountable for this fraud.”

A spokesperson for Mr Lynch said “This breathless ranting from HP is the sort of personal smear we’ve come to expect.”


PERMISSION REFUSED FOR DEMOLITION OF DUBLIN HOTEL – The Irish Examiner reports that the demolition of a disused Dublin city centre hotel has been refused planning.

The Ormond Hotel on the north quays has been closed since 2005. Permission had been sought to build a new hotel on the site.

The proposed redevelopment of the site involved the demolition of the building and replacing it with a new six-storey hotel with 170 bedrooms and a new pub at a cost of €20m.

An Bord Pleanala turned down the plans based on the effect the new hotel would have on the character of the area, surrounding residents and an adjacent protected structure.

It also said the development's scale and design would seriously injure the conservation of the quays.


SHANNON DEVELOPMENT TENDERS ADVICE ON CASTLE’S FUTURE – The Irish Independent reports that Shannon Development is carrying out a strategic review of its tourist arm which operates Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and six other attractions.

The move comes as Shannon Development gets a revamp under the control of a new State quango.

Tourist unit Shannon Heritage's attractions welcome around 380,000 visitors annually, including 85,000 to its medieval banquets and traditional Irish nights at its three castles and its folk park.

The firm's attractions include the recently- revamped King John's Castle in Limerick, Knappogue Castle and Walled Garden in Co Clare and Malahide Castle and Gardens in Dublin.

In the summer season, Shannon Heritage employs 260 people.

The tender says Shannon Development is seeking consultants to assess the current visitor attractiveness of all sites and activities from the perspective of trade, consumers and market influencers.

The consultants will examine the scope for future commercial development and possible expansion of site activities.