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Eamonn Farrell/

An Garda Síochána pays Revenue €270,000 to settle VAT bill for Templemore restaurant and shop

Confusion had arisen over how goods sold at the restaurant and shop in Templemore should be charged for VAT, according to the report.

GARDAÍ HAVE MADE a payment of nearly €270,000 to the Revenue Commissioners in settlement of a VAT bill for the restaurant and shop at their training college.

The payment was made as a “technical adjustment” according to a garda audit and without any penalties being applied.

Confusion had arisen over how goods sold at the restaurant and shop in Templemore should be charged for VAT, according to the report.

The internal audit said Revenue had determined that items sold in the Garda College shop should be liable for tax, but that meals and snacks served to enrolled students and those on vocational training in the restaurant were exempt from VAT.

However, meals served to staff working at the restaurant – or visitors to the college – were not exempt and were subject to normal rates of tax.

An internal audit said gardaí had now paid all outstanding VAT to the Revenue Commissioners.

It said: “The VAT liability was treated as a ‘technical adjustment’ which arose wholly from the uncertain application of EU VAT law and was therefore to be paid without penalties, publication or prejudice for An Garda Síochána.”

A final settlement payment of €268,931 was paid in August last year and the garda audit concluded the matter had now been dealt with.

It added that gardaí had enlisted the help of external tax advisors to help them work out how much was owed between 2015 and April 2020.

The audit said the contract with the tax advisors had now been concluded. It said: “The final invoice should be paid as soon as it is received to ensure no further costs are incurred by An Garda Síochána.”

Separately, the report said an issue over the controversial lease of OPW land in Templemore by gardaí had also been resolved at last.

It said that the land – which had been rented out by gardaí – was in the process of being fully transferred back to the OPW.

The audit said that “all outstanding debt” had been recovered and that only a €30,000 sum remained to be paid as part of regularising the arrangement.

It said the process for transferring the final piece of land to the OPW was now at an advanced stage and that the matter would then be closed.

The Templemore land deal had proved highly embarrassing for both gardaí and the Office of Public Works when it emerged.

Garda auditors had found that more than €130,000 collected in rent between 2009 and 2013 was lodged to a garda college account, and never handed over to the OPW.

A report by the Public Accounts Committee concluded: “There was a serious failure by the OPW to adequately monitor and control the use of such land for which it is ultimately responsible.”

The land had originally been bought to develop a tactical training centre for gardaí, but the project was shelved due to the financial crash.

The Garda Press Office had not responded to a request for comment, which was submitted on 31 May.

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