Attorney General Helen McEntee said she would personally support drug dealers paying a higher rate of tax on their earnings after it was revealed they pay the same tax rates as regular law-abiding workers.
Asked by reporters whether drug dealers should be taxed at a higher rate, Secretary McEntee said: “That wouldn’t be a bad thing”.
“If this is something that needs to be done, it would have to be done in consultation with and in cooperation with my colleagues and the Government,” Minister McEntee told reporters during a press conference at Garda Training College, Templemore, as the release of the 2021 annual report was discussed of the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB).
Ms McEntee – who is proposing legislation to halve the current seven-year timeframe before CAB can send money to the Treasury in contentious cases – said changes to the criminal tax regime were not currently being considered by the government, “That should does not mean that it will not be considered in the future”.
The CAB, which identifies and seizes assets allegedly acquired with proceeds of crime, said in its annual report that in 2021 it stole almost €11 million from criminals, returned €5.5 million to the treasury and recovered €5.5 million to six victims of cryptocurrency theft.
CAB, which was formed 26 years ago after the murder of journalist Veronica Guerin, who was killed by members of drug mob John Gilligan after her work spotlighted the activities of Ireland’s drug lords, last year identified around 24 drug dealers who are more than owed 3 million euros in taxes.
CAB said it also recovered around €250,000 from another 33 drug dealers last year.
Between 1996 and 2021, the Office returned a total of 204 million euros to the state treasury, of which 165 million euros were tax deductions; €33 million in proceeds of crime; and €6 million in welfare reimbursements.
In total, over 360 crime proceeds were brought to court, involving almost €170 million in alleged crime assets.
Chief Bureau Officer, Detective Chief Superintendent Michael Gubbins told reporters that earlier this year CAB had 61 homes under its control and had seized over 80 cars with suspected links to money laundering through the auto trade.
Detective Chief Superintendent Gubbins said CAB has trained “over 100 extra-divisional asset profilers” – agents who identify CAB targets – with the force, Department of Social Protection and Revenue and other agencies, bringing the total number of profilers to “over 552”. have.
Mr Gubbins said ordinary members of the public are CAB’s eyes and ears and thanked them for providing hundreds of leads to CAB in 2021.
“Some people call us, some email us, some write to us; sometimes it’s a quick note, sometimes it’s a big dossier, and in 2021 we’ve had 321 of these Good Citizen Reports, as we like to call them, and they’re very important to us, they give us additional information or sometimes they can identify one additional goal,” he added.
When asked what percentage drug dealers and other criminals are taxed on their income, Mr Gubbins replied: “They are taxed at the normal rate (like everyone else), yes.”
When asked if he personally thought that was the right thing to do, or if drug dealers should pay a higher tax rate, Mr Gubbins replied: “That’s the rate that’s there and that’s the system we work with.”
Asked if he would like an overhaul against the criminal, Mr Gubbins continued: “We use the existing revenue metrics and system to tax them, unless someone else wants to change (it)… but im Right now we’re using the system”.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was also asked if he would like drug dealers to pay a higher rate of tax, saying: “Well I have to say tax is not my specialty. But what has already been put forward is actually the proposal to publish people who have been treated through CAB and Down who have filed tax returns.”
“Obviously taxation is pursued as a tactic, there are other tactics as well as the proceeds of crimes that happen in public and people are seeing the consequences of that. Actual tax rates are not my specialty. I can’t comment on that,” Commissioner Harris said.
https://www.independent.ie/news/drug-dealers-taxed-the-same-as-workers-admits-justice-minister-41825189.html Drug dealers are taxed the same as workers, Justice Minister admits