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Revenue defends Target Express action as workers begin sit-ins

The freight company ceased trading yesterday with the loss of 390 jobs. The owner blamed the tax authorities for the closure.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE REVENUE COMMISSIONERS has issued a statement in response to criticism of it by the owner of Target Express, the freight company which ceased trading yesterday with the loss of 390 jobs.

The Revenue said that while it did not comment on individual matters, cases were referred for enforcement where a taxpayer or business has failed to comply with an obligation to pay tax.

Earlier, Seamus McBrien said that the company, which has depots across the country as well as in Northern Ireland and mainland UK, had paid the tax authorities €214,000 last Monday and offered to pay a further €80,000 by this Friday.

He told Newstalk that Revenue wanted him to pay the €80,000 by Wednesday but he told them he would pay it on the Friday.

This resulted in Revenue attaching the company’s bank accounts meaning that Target Express could not pay staff.

Meanwhile 18 former workers have begun sit-ins at the country’s Cork headquarters with 10 workers from Galway set to join them.

Other sit-ins are reported in Limerick and a protest outside the gates of the company’s Dublin depot is also said to be taking place, according to RTÉ.

TheJournal.ie attempted to contact a number of the company’s depots yesterday but they could not be reached.

‘Not a lender of last resort’

The Revenue Commissioners declined to comment yesterday evening when news of the company’s cessation of trading was first reported but in response to another request for comment this evening, it issued a statement.

“Revenue does not comment on the tax affairs of any particular business or individual and cannot do so in this case,” the statement said.

“In general, cases are referred by Revenue for enforcement where a taxpayer or business has failed to comply with the obligation to pay tax that is due and where there are no satisfactory proposals towards addressing the debt.

“In every case, prior to enforcement action by Revenue, the taxpayer or business will have been informed that continuing non-compliance is likely to result in enforcement action.

“As Revenue Chairman Josephine Feehily, on previous occasions, has said “we want to help viable businesses and taxpayers who want to pay their taxes but can’t in the short term.

“We can, and do, put alternative payment arrangements in place to help such customers through difficult periods…But businesses and individuals must engage with us at the earliest possible opportunity and this engagement must be realistic.

“Revenue is not a lender of last resort and we have a duty to ensure that all our customers operate on a level playing field and all tax due is paid.”

Read: Tyrone GAA plan sponsorship future without Target Express

Read: Sit-in at Cork Target Express plant begins after company ceases trading

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Hugh O'Connell

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