Updated: 15/11/16 : 07:56:38
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Noonan confirms VAT abuse schemes says Harkin

In response to a question from Independent MEP Marian Harkin in the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, Minister Michael Noonan agreed that he had introduced an amendment to the Finance Bill to deal with tax avoidance schemes in the poultry sector.

MEP Marian Harkin spoke of the complaint that she and a poultry farmer had submitted to the European Commission last June in regard to the claiming of excess VAT in the poultry sector by manipulating what is known as the ‘flat rate scheme for farmers’.

Speaking in the European Parliament, MEP Harkin described this scheme as: “a VAT scam that hugely disadvantages these producers who are outside of the scheme and also as having the potential to undermine the viability of the entire poultry sector”.

Minister Noonan said that it had come to his attention: “that VAT avoidance schemes were being developed and probably in place, particularly in the poultry sector”.

He went on to say that he introduced the amendment to the Finance Bill: “to avoid tax evasion in the poultry industry that gave competitive advantage to those who used it rather than those who didn’t”.

MEP Harkin continued: “I am really pleased that the poultry farmer, Alo Mohan, who for two and a half years simply tried to trade legally has now been vindicated.

“Because he refused to be part of this tax evasion scheme, he has lost approximately €25,000 per annum and had no choice but to cease trading in recent times. This is a law abiding man concerned only with doing the right thing and yet his family business of 60 years is no longer trading”.

Furthermore, Marian Harkin raised the issue of artificially inflating the price of feed in order to inflate the amount claimed by the flat rate scheme for farmers. She said: “this matter needs to be dealt with definitively in order to ensure we have a thriving competitive industry that pays the producers for their service and is not reliant on tax avoidance schemes.

“Most people in the industry knew what was going on here and everybody I spoke to told me the same thing - this is a scam, but a blind eye was turned by some. We informed Revenue over two and a half years ago yet it has taken until now and an investigation by the European Commission to move this matter forward.

Alo Mohan who is a former IFA poultry Chairman has called for an investigation into this matter and how the poultry industry could be undermined by such a scheme.