HSE payment delay cited by defence against Revenue action
IT “CANNOT be equitable” for the Revenue Commissioners to take a man’s home while another arm of the State, the Health Service Executive, is not paying him what he is owed, the High Court was told yesterday.
Mr Justice Peter Charleton was told the man, from Rathfarnham in Dublin, owed taxes and interest of €1.12 million to the Revenue Commissioners. The Revenue had taken legal action against him and had secured a judgment mortgage on his family home in Rathfarnham.
Yesterday it sought an order to have the home sold and the proceeds used to discharge the debt.
Counsel for the man, who owned a software business, said he had entered into a repayment schedule with the Revenue, but through the actions of the HSE he had been unable to meet the repayments.
He said there was money due to his client on foot of several contracts with the HSE as he had been the primary supplier of software to all hospitals for 25 years. The HSE had also breached a licensing agreement and retained software it had no right to, counsel said.
Documents filed with the court claimed the man was owed over €80,000 by the HSE that had been cleared for payment but was still outstanding. And a further €2.5 million was owed that had not been cleared.
In a letter to the HSE in July 2010, also filed in court, the 68-year-old’s solicitors, Hamilton Turner, claimed their client had suffered “extreme financial hardship and catastrophic and irreversible damage to his business” because of the HSE’s actions.
He fell into arrears with his taxes because of difficulties getting payments from the HSE, the letter said. Because he was in arrears he could not obtain a tax-clearance certificate, and because he had no tax-clearance certificate the HSE refused to pay him.
Yesterday in court, counsel said it could not be equitable for one arm of the State to take his client’s home from him if another arm of the State was not paying him what he was owed.
He said the sale of the home would not cover the tax debt, but parallel legal proceedings against the HSE could raise several million. He asked for the case to be adjourned pending the result of those proceedings.
Counsel for the Revenue Commissioners said his client would love the man to recover millions of euro and to repay his debt. The Revenue had no desire to take his home, but it was not satisfactory that it should wait “ad infinitum” pending separate court action.
Mr Justice Charleton said the case against the HSE could be suitable for the High Court’s “case management system” so that it could be disposed of quickly in the circumstances.
He adjourned the Revenue case until July 9th to allow a formal motion to be brought to stop the case proceeding until the HSE action was resolved.