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Martin 'the Viper' Foley loses court appeal over €738,000 tax bill

The Criminal Assets Bureau welcomed today’s judgement.
Nov 20th 2019, 8:30 PM 27,552 0

VETERAN CRIMINAL MARTIN Foley, also known as ‘The Viper’, has lost his appeal against the Criminal Assets Bureau over €738,449.27 in unpaid taxes and subsequent interest accrued. 

The 68-year-old Dublin man has survived a series of attempts on his life, and has a string of convictions for assault, robbery and possession of weapons. A High Court judge in one case described Foley as a “notorious criminal”. 

In this case, Foley was appealing a High Court decision from January 2014, where he was ordered to pay a tax bill of €738,449.27. Foley claimed he had been “taken by surprise” and was left in “an almost impossible situation”.

The Court of Appeal judge Mr Justice Edwards said that Foley was “believed to have been engaged in criminal activity and to have enjoyed substantial gains arising from this activity and from other unknown sources”.

Foley’s tax history

He was assessed for tax based on his income between 1993-94 and 1999-2000 inclusive, and was found to owe IR£172,586.80. Foley appealed this finding to Revenue.

Foley submitted returns that showed his income was IR£56,841 for those four years, meaning he’d owe IR£15,050.97 in tax. A Revenue official refused the appeal. Foley then appealed it to the Revenue Appeals Commissioner, submitting revised returns suggesting an aggregate income of IR£105,519 for the four years, meaning he’d owe IR£39,814.32 in tax.

Foley made payments to Revenue in January and February 2002 amounting to IR£22,966. It’s a statutory precondition for those pursuing an appeal to Revenue to pay any admitted tax liability on foot of returns made in full, and as this “had not been satisfied”, it was refused again. 

Because of this, the assessments by Revenue “became final”, so Foley owed IR£172,586.80, which is equal to €218,140.07. 

Foley made another payment on 27 March 2002. This brought the total amount owed to €178,510.85. In 2013, the interest on that amount had grown to €633,956.09. This brought the total to €881,257.87.

Today’s judgement surmised: “As stated, the controversy on this appeal arises with respect to the additional sum of €633,956.09 claimed for interest, which together with additional interest which had accrued to the date of judgement, resulted in the respondent being granted liberty to enter final judgment on 20 January 2014 for a further sum of €738,449.27, which is the sum referred to in the introduction to this judgement as the “balance” of the amount claimed by the respondent [the Criminal Assets Bureau] in its Notice of Motion dated 26 September 2013.”

In his decision, the judge said that no time limit applied for the respondent, or the Collector General, to recover the taxes owed: “It is a matter of public policy that people should pay their taxes in a timely manner.”

He also said that the 11 year pre-commencement delay was “arguably inordinate”:

He well knew that he had an unpaid bill for taxes due, he well knew that interest was accruing, he had no basis for believing that those taxes would not ultimately be pursued, and so it was totally within his power at every stage to stop the interest clock from running and to cap the interest bill. All he had to do was to pay the outstanding taxes he admits were due. 

“It is clear to me that the appellant has no case, and I would dismiss the appeal,” he said.

The Criminal Assets Bureau welcomed today’s judgement. 

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Gráinne Ní Aodha


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