Written Answers. - Betting Tax.

499.

asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware of claims made on the RTE Public Account Programme of Tuesday, 3 April by two Dáil Deputies that they had laid bets without paying betting tax; the steps he intends to take as a result of these statements; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I am aware of the claims to which the Deputy refers.

I have written to the Deputies involved expressing my concern about their statements. Evasion of any tax is illegal and cannot be condoned. It is particularly inappropriate for Dáil Deputies to show disregard for the laws passed by the Oireachtas.

I would point out that the bookmaker, not the punter, is legally responsible for paying betting duty. While a bookmaker would normally be expected to collect the duty from the punter at the time of making the bet, the non-payment of the duty by the punter on a bet is not sufficient proof that betting duty was not paid by the bookmaker in respect of that bet. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they are arranging to have the two Deputies interviewed by customs and excise officers to determine whether they can provide evidence of betting offences by bookmakers.