Dublin man says he should be allowed appeal £3m tax bill

 

The Criminal Assets Bureau has applied to the High Court for judgment for almost £3 million against a Dublin man in respect of alleged unpaid tax and interest.

Mr Justice O'Higgins was told Mr Matthew Kelly, who was adjudicated a bankrupt in 1984, was denying he derived any of his income from criminal activity.

Mr Kelly, a former company director of Ashington Gardens, Navan Road, Dublin, denies he owes £2,950,866 to the Revenue Commissioners in tax and interest and claims he should be allowed to appeal the amount.

Mr Kelly claimed his income came from nursing homes which he owned in the United Kingdom and that if he was liable for tax, the amount was £628,650.

In an affidavit, Mr Barry Galvin, legal officer with CAB, said he believed Mr Kelly had no defence to the CAB's claim and was defending the proceedings solely for the purpose of delay. Mr Kelly had paid no sum on account since the proceedings started. In another affidavit, Mr Kelly said he had been ready, willing and able over the last two years to come out of bankruptcy by discharging his creditors, including the Revenue Commissioners, in full.

Mr John McGrattan, of Stillorgan Grove, Blackrock, Co Dublin, a tax consultant to Mr Kelly, said that as far back as 1997 there were ongoing negotiations with the Revenue Commissioners concerning settlement of his client's liability.

In an affidavit, Mr McGrattan said representatives of CAB/Revenue Commissioners had "intimated" to him that while negotiations were ongoing there was no need to appeal the tax assessments made against Mr Kelly and that they were prepared to allow Mr Kelly to finalise his affairs with the Revenue by negotiation.

Mr Galvin, in a replying affidavit, said he was informed that there was no suggestion of assurances being given that there be any delay or postponement of the statutory period within which the assessments would become final.

Mr Justice O'Higgins said these affidavits raised an issue as to whether representations or intimations were made as stated by Mr McGrattan.

Mr Michael Forde SC, for Mr Kelly, said that since there was a dispute relating to the question of representations, Mr Kelly was entitled to have the matter tried rather than by way of a summary summons. There was a substantial question of fact to be decided and the proceedings currently before the court should be dismissed, he said.

Mr Forde said a second question related to Mr Kelly's status as a bankrupt. Under the law the property of a bankrupt was vested in the Official Assignee. If an assessment was to be made it should be made on the Official Assignee and that raised the question whether such an assessment could be made against the Official Assignee, he submitted.

Mr Richard Nesbitt SC, for the CAB, submitted that under the rules of court and because the High Court had an inherent jurisdiction to determine any issue, the judge could decide the dispute between the parties in the proceedings before the court.

Mr Justice O'Higgins said that a contest was envisaged between the parties by coming before the court and each side had served notice of an intention to cross-examine witnesses. He adjourned further argument until tomorrow.