In yesterday’s Irish Times we read that a Dublin businessman, Mr. Leslie Reynolds was sentenced to three months jail for tax evasion.
At first glance this might give the impression that Revenue is beginning to get tough on tax criminals, like real democracies do. Not a chance. They still operate a policy of amnesties. No other country in the world can match the number of tax amnesties so far granted to tax criminals in Ireland. Nine according to my latest reckoning, it could be more.
What affect does this policy have on Irish citizens? Well, Mr. Reynolds is a good example. For years, he robbed millions from the State in a well organised fraud. He was confident, and his confidence is justified by today’s sentence, that even if he was caught, he would not be treated as the major criminal he really is.
A mere three months in jail, sure won’t it be a grand rest for him from all his criminal activity. He was also fined €15,000. Mmm…lets see where that registers on the scale of Mr. Reynolds wealth…No, sorry, it doesn’t register at all.
If Mr. Reynolds was unlucky enough to live in, say, America, he would now be serving, at a minimum, five years and would be paying out millions in fines in addition to the wholesale confiscation of his properties.
What kind of reaction could we expect from the ordinary Irish taxpayer to this totally incompetent treatment of major tax criminals?
‘Feck that, I am going to cheat the State and everyone else every chance I getâ€?
And who could blame him?