Friday, April 12, 2024

IRD out of order


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LESS THAN a month after hauling a number of professionals before the court for failing to file income tax returns, the Commissioner of Inland Revenue has found himself on the the wrong side of the law.
And after a judgement delivered against him in the High Court on Wednesday, the commissioner must pay damages as well as the legal fees of a doctor after the department wrongfully assessed his income tax and then filed a certificate for unpaid taxes against his land. Justice Olson Alleyne declared that the commissioner acted improperly and outside of the scope of the law when he filed the certificate, in the name of Euston C. Maynard, on the 27th day of September 2005, in the amount of $77 055.50.
In addition, the judge quashed the commissioner’s decision and ordered that the certificate be removed from the Register of Judgements.
The commissioner filed no affidavits in response to evidence led by Maynard and never put in a defence.At the court hearing, attorneys from the Solicitor-General’s Office conceded that the commissioner had acted improperly as he had offered no defence to the claim.
In a matter which dates from the 1988 audit of the practice of Dr Euston Maynard, the Inland Revenue Department had assessed him as owing money for the years 1984 to 1987.
However, Maynard objected and explained in writing that his clinic which at the time was located in Spooners Hill, St Michael, had been flooded and he had been unable to practise for several months in 1984.
As a result, he went to Mexico and the United States and was hardly in the island that year.
In court documents obtained by the SATURDAY SUN, Maynard submitted copies of the pages of his passport; photographs of his flooded practice; his accounts, books, records, bank statements and other documents to show why his income was negligible for that year.
Documents showed the doctor followed them up with letter after letter, from 1989 to 2008, to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue requesting a reassessment.
In 1989, he got a response from an official in that department telling him to submit the same documents that he had, which led him to believe that his original documents had been lost.
The next correspondence he received from the department was in 2002 and it detailed arrears he owed.
The doctor only realised a certificate for unpaid taxes had been issued against him when he tried to sell land in 2008, only to be told by the attorneys representing the buyer that the sale could not be completed because of the certificate.He even wrote to the Ombudsman but has not had a response from him either.
As a result, Maynard’s attorney Satcha Kissoon sued the Commissioner of Inland Revenue and asked the court to find that the decision or administrative acts of the commission were contrary to law and contrary to the principles of income tax assessment; that the commissioner took irrelevant considerations into account and that the decision was in breach of the procedures set out the income tax legislation.


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