Businessman has ‘no right’ to fight case in lower court

A businessman has lost a High Court appeal against a lower court’s decision in relation to a tax case.

The businessman cannot be named pending legal argument today over whether he is entitled to anonymity.

The case concerns a Revenue Commissioners’ finding that a tax return he made 15 years ago was insufficient.

In 2010, a inspector of taxes sought information on the man’s return for 1999/2000.

The businessman contested the inspector’s right to make such an enquiry and, following an appeal in 2011, an Appeal Commissioner determined Revenue had a lawful right to do so.

He then exercised his right to ask the Appeal Commissioner to state a case to the High Court on the matter. He was separately entitled to appeal the decision to the Circuit Court and did so.

Subsequently, a Circuit Court judge ruled in favour of Revenue by refusing to list the appeal for hearing in that court. The judge decided that the businessman had made a choice about which court the matter should be dealt in and was not entitled to pursue it in the lower court.

The businessman argued the High Court was never seised of the case stated, while he had never withdrawn his notice of an appeal to the Circuit Court.

Ms Justice Iseult O’Malley in a ruling yesterday agreed with the Circuit Court judge, saying two courts cannot be seised of the same issue at the same time. The aggrieved taxpayer must “make a choice as to which route to take” and elect for the process considered the most beneficial to them, she said.

Ms Justice O’Malley asked the parties for their views on whether the name of the businessman should be redacted from her judgment when it is published.

Arguments will be heard on this today.


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