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Dublin Waterworld Ltd, the operator of the National Aquatic Centre, were not liable to pay VAT - but the Revenue Commissioners thought otherwise. Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

TDs to report on Revenue error which left State with 'significant' legal costs

The State-controlled body which runs the National Sports Campus tried to sue Dublin Waterworld over a VAT bill that wasn’t due.

AN ALL-PARTY COMMITTEE of TDs will this week publish a report into how a State-controlled company pursued court action against another company over a tax bill which was never legally due.

The Public Accounts Committee will detail on Wednesday how incorrect advice obtained from the Revenue Commissioners resulted in the company which managed the National Sports Campus taking legal action against the private operators of the National Aquatic Centre.

Campus Stadium Ireland Development Ltd, a State-controlled company, had taken action against the Aquatic Centre’s operators Dublin Waterworld pursuing a VAT bill of €10.25 million.

After a six-year legal dispute, the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that Dublin Waterworld was not actually liable for VAT under the Finance Act 2002 – leaving the State with legal costs likely to run into hundreds of thousands.

The committee had previously heard how the Comptroller & Auditor General had recommended that the legal action be dropped, but that it had been continued on the basis of “guidelines” received from the Revenue Commissioners, which had seemingly misinterpreted the provisions of the 2002 Act.

Committee chairman John McGuinness said there had been a “litany of poor advice” which led to the major error.

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