Deighan v Hearne

JurisdictionIreland
JudgeFINLAY C.J.,[NEM DISS]
Judgment Date01 March 1990
Neutral Citation1990 WJSC-SC 335
CourtSupreme Court
Docket Number[S.C. No. 302 of 1986]
Date01 March 1990
DEIGHAN v. HEARNE
MICHAEL DEIGHAN
Plaintiff/
Appellant

and

EDWARD N. HEARNE AND OTHERS
Defendants/
Respondents

1990 WJSC-SC 335

Finlay C.J.

Walsh J.

Griffin J.

Hederman J.

McCarthy J.

302/86

THE SUPREME COURT

Synopsis:

REVENUE

Income tax

Collection - Taxpayer - Income - Return - Absence - Assessment of income - Conclusiveness - Default procedure - Validity - Constitution - Administration of justice - Judicial function - Encroachment - Inspector of taxes - Citizen - Personal rights - Property rights - Infringement - The assessment, not being disputed, created no justiciable controversy - It did not encroach upon the judicial domain in the administration of justice - The said powers of assessment vested in an inspector of taxes, and the conclusive nature of that assessment in the events specified in s. 416, sub-s. 6, of the Act, do not constitute a failure to protect the property rights of the taxpayer - The inspector's power to extend the time limited for appealing against an assessment does not constitute a failure to protect the rights of the citizen - The Collector General's power to certify the amount of tax payable by a defaulter does not encroach upon the judicial function in the administration of justice - Income Tax Act, 1967, ss. 184, 416, 485 - Constitution of Ireland, 1937, Articles 34, 40 - (302/86 - Supreme Court - 1/3/90) - [1990] 1 I.R. 499

|Deighan v. Hearne|

CONSTITUTION

Courts

Administration of justice - Judicial function - Invasion - Inspector of taxes - Powers - Income tax - Collection - Default procedure - Validity - (302/86 - Supreme Court - 1/3/90)

|Deighan v. Hearne|

CONSTITUTION

Personal rights

Property rights - Income tax - Collection - Default procedure - Validity - Conclusiveness of unappealed assessment - (302/86 - Supreme Court - 1/3/90) - [1990] 1 I.R. 499

|Deighan v. Hearne|

CONSTITUTION

Statute

Validity - Income tax - Collection - Default procedure - Validity - Conclusiveness of unappealed assessment - (302/86 - Supreme Court - 1/3/90) - [1990] 1 I.R. 499

|Deighan v. Hearne|

Citations:

INCOME TAX ACT 1967

INCOME TAX ACT 1967 S485

INCOME TAX ACT 1967 SCHED D

INCOME TAX ACT 1967 S184(2)

INCOME TAX ACT 1967 S416(6)

INCOME TAX ACT 1967 S416(7)(a)

INCOME TAX ACT 1967 S485(1)

CONSTITUTION ART 34

CONSTITUTION ART 40

KENNEDY V HEARNE & ORS 1988 IR 481

MCLOUGHLIN V TUITE 1986 ILRM 304

FINANCE ACT 1968 S7(1)

FINANCE ACT 1968 S7(2)

INCOME TAX ACT 1967 S184

INCOME TAX ACT 1967 S485

INCOME TAX ACT 1967 S416(1)

INCOME TAX ACT 1967 S485(2)

1

DECISION OF THE COURT delivered on the 1st day of March1990by FINLAY C.J.pursurant to Article 34.4.5 of the Constitution

2

This is an appeal against the Order of the High Court made by Murphy J. on the 27th August 1986 dismissing the Plaintiff's claim.

3

In the course of that claim and in the course of the submissions made by the Plaintiff in person on this appeal he has challenged the validity, having regard to the provisions of the Constitution, of a number of Sections of the Income Tax Act 1967. This is the decision of the Court on that challenge.

The facts
4

The Plaintiff was assessed for income tax under Schedule D of the Income Tax Act 1967as a furniture wholesaler for the years 1981 to 1985, inclusive, in varying amounts. Upon the finding of the learned trial Judge in the High Court each of these assessments was made as a "default assessment" pursuant to Section 184 of the Act of 1967 upon, in each year, the failure of the Plaintiff to make tax returns. The Plaintiff did not seek to appeal any of these assessments nor, after the time for the bringing of an appeal had expired, did he seek to extend the time for appealing. Demands in respect of each of the assessments were then made and no payment was made on foot of such demands. In May 1984 the Collector General issued a certificate pursuant to Section 485 of the Act of 1967 to the County Sheriff of the County of Dublin in respect of a sum of £32,244.50 in respect of the years up to and including the financial year 1983–84. The sums referred to in the certificate had been demanded from the Plaintiff on several occasions prior to the granting of that certificate. Upon the issue of that certificate the Dublin County Sheriff caused a Notice of Seizure to be served on the Plaintiff and theseproceedings were then instituted by the Plaintiff.

The impugned statutory provisions
Section 184(2) of the Act of 1967
If
5

(a) A person makes default in the delivery of a statement in respect of any tax under Schedule D or

6

(b) The Inspector is not satisfied with a statement which has been delivered or has received any information as to its insufficiency the Inspector shall make an assessment on the person concerned in such sum as according to the best of the Inspector's judgment ought to be charged on that person.

Section 416(6)
7

In default of notice of appeal by a person to whom notice of assessment has been given or in case of the neglect or refusal of a person who has given notice of appeal to attend before the special commissioners at the time and place appointed for the purpose of hearing appeals, the assessment made on him shall be final and conclusive.

Section 416(7)(a)
8

A notice of appeal not given within the time limited by subsection (1) shall be regarded as having been so given where on an application in writing having been made to him in that behalf the Inspector or such other officer aforesaid being satisfied that owing to absence, sickness or other reasonable cause the Applicant was prevented from giving notice of appeal within the time limited and that the application was made thereafter without unreasonable delay, notifies the applicant in writing that his application has been allowed.

Section 485(1)
9

Whenever any person makes default in paying any sum which may be levied upon him in respect of income tax and notwithstanding (in the case of a Schedule A assessment) that the defaulter is not named in the assessment of the tax, the Collector may issue a certificate to the Country Registrar or Sheriff of the County in which the defaulter resides or has a place of business or (when the default is charged on lands or tenements) in which the lands and tenements are situate, certifying theamount of the sum so in default and the person upon whom the same is leviable and the lands and tenements (if any) on which the sum ischarged.

10

(2) Immediately upon receipt of the certificate the County Registrar shall proceed to levy the sum therein certified to be in default by seizing all or any of the goods, animals and other chattels within his bailiwick belonging to the defaulter and (when the tax in default is charged on lands or tenements) all or any goods, animals and other chattels...

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