Thursday 30 March 2017

Foster and Allen to appeal after challenge fails on €6m tax bill

Tony Allen and Mick Foster at court yesterday
Tony Allen and Mick Foster at court yesterday

Ken Sweeney and Aoife Finneran

MUSICAL double act Foster and Allen last night vowed to appeal after admitting they "most certainly don't have the money" to clear €3m each in unpaid taxes.

The duo saw their challenges against demands made by Revenue dismissed, leaving them with the multi-million bill.

And speaking to the Irish Independent, Tony Allen said: "I have no idea where we are going to get that kind of money from.

"We believe that we wouldn't actually owe all that much money, most of it is made up of fines and interest," he said.

Mr Justice John Hedigan yesterday ruled against the entertainers, noting that they had brought "great joy" to many over the years, and that he was sorry but the court was satisfied to rule against them.

Afterwards, Mr Allen promised to remain positive and continue his musical career with partner Mick Foster as they sought to appeal the High Court decision.

"It could be a lot worse -- after all, no one is very sick or dead. I always say if it can be solved with time or money, you don't have a problem."

The musical duo said they were victims of a fraud by accountant and barrister Patrick Russell of Steelstown, Rathcoole, Co Dublin.

They said they each paid Mr Russell €50,000 to settle their tax liability, and that he supplied them with a letter from Revenue saying their tax affairs were in order. However, their barrister said Revenue did not receive that money and the letters were forgeries.

Last night, Mr Allen said they would make "every effort to come to some arrangement".

"It's not as if we have never been paying tax. We have paid tax every year since we started. This is just to do with royalties and record sales. It got out of hand a few years ago with an accountant we had who wasn't working the way we thought he was," he said.

Demands

The breakdown of the demands against Mr Foster and Mr Allen are, in each case, approximately €1m for unpaid taxes with the rest of the demands made up of penalties and interest.

Mr Allen (59), of Kileenatoor, Mount Temple, Co Westmeath, had opposed an application by Revenue for summary judgment for €3.389m against him -- arising from unpaid income taxes and penalties between 1986 and 1997.

He claimed he had a bona fide defence and that the matter should go to full hearing.

In a separate motion, Michael "Mick" Foster (64) of Walshtown, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, had asked the court to set aside a summary judgment for €2.947m made against him by Revenue in 2008. The judgment related to unpaid taxes from 1986 to 2002. Revenue had opposed both applications.

Mr Justice Hedigan granted Revenue judgment of almost €3.4m against Mr Allen, after ruling he did not raise any bona fide defence with any prospect of success at a full hearing.

He also struck out Mr Foster's bid to set aside the 2008 judgment against him.

In their affidavits, the duo claimed Revenue was not entitled to judgments against them.

They added that, in 1998, their then-advisers had agreed with Revenue that their liability up to 1997 was IR£175,000.

The musicians also claimed that Revenue applied a 10pc surcharge for the late submission of returns, which they were not entitled to do.

But Gary McCarthy, for Revenue, denied that there had been such an agreement. He said the IR£175,000 had not been paid, and he said Revenue was entitled to add a surcharge.

David Goldberg, for Mr Foster and Mr Allen, said that his clients were entitled to a full hearing.

Despite their troubles, Foster and Allen last night said they would still be performing in the John McCormack hall in Moate, Co Westmeath, next Monday to raise funds for the local Midlands Amenities Park.

Irish Independent

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