Moses v The Board of Inland Revenue; Chevalier v The Board of Inland Revenue

JurisdictionTrinidad & Tobago
JudgeKoylass, C.,Burke, M.,Julumsingh, M.
Judgment Date27 July 1983
CourtTax Appeal Board (Trinidad and Tobago)
Docket NumberI 58 of 1981; I 59 of 1981; I 60 of 1981; I 61 of 1981
Date27 July 1983

Tax Appeal Board

Koylass, C.; Burke, M.; Julumsingh, M.

I 58 of 1981; I 59 of 1981; I 60 of 1981; I 61 of 1981

The Board of Inland Revenue
The Board of Inland Revenue

S. Shivarattan for appellants

E. John-Charles for respondent

Revenue Law - Income tax — Appellant appealed against assessments by respondent to income tax and unemployment levy for the year of income 1974 — Whether the sum of $71,950 had been received as consideration for the land conveyed to daughter of NM — Judgment that the appellants had failed to prove that the sum of $71,950 was a capital sum received from sale of land — Appeal was allowed.


These were appeals against assessments by the respondent to income ax and unemployment levy for the year of income 1974. They were consolidated by order of this Court on 10th February, 1982.


At the hearing on 20th May, 1983, Mr. Shivarattan, counsel for the appellants, drew the Court's attention to the following written agreement filed by the parties earlier that day:–


“AN AGREEMENT whereby it is agreed that, depending on the determination of the Appeal Board as to the treatment of the sum of $71,950 claimed to have been received by the appellant Nagib Moses from his son-in-law Labib Habre and deposited into the appellants' bank account, the chargeable income of the appellants' and the tax payable thereon for the year of income 1974 be as follows:

  • (i) If the said sum of $71,950 is determined not to be part of the appellants' income


    Chargeable income per return – $17,446.00

    Adjustment agreed upon – 9,954.00

    Adjusted chargeable income – $27,400.00

    Tax thereon – 10,310.00

    Unemployment Levy payable – 870.00


    Chargeable income per return – $11,607.00

    Adjustments agreed upon – 9,954.00

    Adjusted chargeable income – 21,561.00

    Tax thereon – 7,390.50

    Unemployment Levy payable – 578.00

  • (ii) If the sum of $71,950 is determined to be part of the appellant's income


    Adjusted chargeable income – $27,400.00

    1/2 of $71,950 –35.975.00

    New adjusted chargeable income – 63,375.00

    Tax thereon – 32,082.50

    Unemployment Levy payable – 2,668.75


    Adjusted chargeable income – $21,561.00

    1/2 of $71,950 – 35 975.00

    New adjusted chargeable income – 57,536.00

    Tax thereon – 28,231.60

    Unemployment Levy payable – 2,376.80


Regarding the agreement, Mr. Shivarattan stated that the parties had agreed that the issue to be determined was whether the total sum of $71,950, deposited to the business account of the appellants at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, was a capital sum received on a land sale transaction.


The appellant, Nagib Moses, and two other witnesses, Aziz Joseph Hadeed and Labib Habre, testified on behalf of the appellants.


Evidence relating to the alleged receipt and deposit of sums of money by the appellants and to the sequence of events relating to the land transaction was given by Nagib Moses and Labib Habre. We shall review this evidence after considering the evidence of Hadeed regarding the translation from Arabic into English of certain documents relating to the land transaction.


Hadeed testified that he was the Syrian counsel for Trinidad and the Caribbean. He was educated in the Arabic language, which was the language in which documents were written in Syria and the Republic of Lebanon (hereinafter referred to as “Lebanon”).


Six documents were put in evidence through this witness as exhibits A.J.H. 1 to A.J.H. 6. of these, A.J.H. 5 and A.J.H. 6 were tendered by the respondent. His evidence regarding these exhibits was as follows:–

  • (a) Exhibits A.J.H. 1 and A.J.H. 3 were written in Arabic and were obtained from the Ministry of Land in the district of Babda in Lebanon. A.J.H. 1 shows that on 16th July, 1975, Nagib Elias Moses El Habre and Nagibe Elias Moses El Habre each owned 1,200 shares in 2,151 sq. metres of land, No. 979, at Btalloun in Lebanon. A.J.H. 3 shows that the land, No. 979, at Btalloun, had been inherited on 9th April, 1975 and sold to Angela Nagib Moses, wife of Labib Habre, on 4th August, 1975.

  • (b) Exhibits A.J.H. 2 and A.J.H. 4 had been certified as correct English translations of exhibits A.J.H. 1 and A.J.H. 3, respectively, by his Vice-Consult Albert Hadeed.

  • (c) Exhibits A.J.H. 5 and A.J.H. 6 also were English translations of A.J.H. 1 and A.J.H. 3, respectively. These he had certified as correct, prior to the certification of A.J.H. 2 and A.J.H. 4.


On the evidence, we accept that A.J.H. 2 and A.J.H. 4 are English translations of A.J.H. 1 and A.J.H. 3.


Nagib Moses testified as follows:–

  • (a) His name was previously Nagib Bliss Moses El Habre, but it was changed to his present name when he obtained his Trinidad and Tobago passport in 1969.

  • (b) The other appellant, Adella Chevalier, was his sister — she was previously known as Nagibe Elias Moses El Habre.

  • (c) During the year of income 1974, he and his sister carried on a dry goods store under the name Elias Moses & Co., in which they each had a 50% share.

  • (d) Moneys from business sales were deposited to their business account at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

  • (e) He also deposited to that account money held on trust for people generally.

  • (f) In 1974, he had deposited to that account a total sum of $71,950 held on trust for Labib Habre, representing the following amounts received from him or on his behalf:–

    Date of Deposit Amount – Particulars — Exhibit duplicate — deposit receipt

    26.6.74 – 40,000 – Cash N.M. 4

    27.8.74 5,300 Cheque from Issa Nicholas N.M. 1

    2.9.74 – 10,000 CanadianBank draft N.M 5N.M. 5

    6.9.74 – 10,000 Barclays of Commerce draft N.M 2

    2.10.74 6,650 – Canadian Bank of Commerce draft

  • (g) At the time of making the deposits on 27th August, 1974, 6th September, 1974 and 2nd October, 1974, he had inserted notations in his duplicate deposit receipt book to indicate that those amounts had been received for the account of Labib Habre.

  • (h) Labib Habre was about to return to Lebanon to establish a business, and had expressed an interest in acquiring the land in Lebanon, which was owned by his father, Elias Moses, who was residing in Lebanon. His father was ailing, and he and his sister had expected to inherit the land.

  • (i) The sum of $71,950 had been received as the purchase price of the land in Lebanon. That sum was “a subsidised price”, as in 1974 the land was worth twice that amount.

  • (j) He and his sister had inherited the land some time after the death of their father on 4th November, 1974.


A question posed to him by his counsel, as to why the land had been conveyed only to his daughter, Angela Nagib Moses, elicited the following replies:–

  • (a) There could have been complications.

  • (b) Her husband had so decided.

  • (c) It was never discussed in whose name the land should be transferred.


In cross-examination, he reiterated his replies as to why the land had been conveyed to his daughter, and explained that by complications he meant that Labib Habre had a power of attorney in respect of the land and could have sold it. He stated that he had made an arrangement to sell the land although he had not yet inherited it. He denied that the land had been a gift to his daughter. He also stated that the $40,000 deposited on 26th June, 1974, had been received in $20 notes (T.T.).


Labib Habre testified as under –

  • (a) He had come to Trinidad from Lebanon in 1968, at the request of one Issa Nicholas, to work as manager of his paper bag factory in Barbados.

  • (b) He had paid $71,950 to Nagib Moses for the land, as he had decided to return to Lebanon on the expiration of his work permit on 12th August, 1974.

  • (c) He had known the parcel of land and was interested in acquiring it. The land was owned by Elias Moses, the father of Nagib Moses, who was in Lebanon, and he had obtained a letter for delivery to him.

  • (d) On his arrival in Lebanon in early October 1974, he had delivered the letter to Elias Moses, but the land had not been transferred to him, as one week after his arrival, Elias Moses had fallen ill and had died five weeks later.

  • (e) After the death of Elias Moses, and at the request of Nagib Moses, he had made the necessary arrangements in Lebanon to have the land transferred to the appellants.

  • (f) He had subsequently contacted Nagib Moses and had requested, and been granted, a power of attorney to transfer the land to his wife, Angela Nagib Moses, who was the daughter of Nagib Moses.

  • (g) The sum of $40,000 had been obtained in exchange for Barbados currency from several banks in Barbados. He had arranged for this sum to be conveyed in a brief case by a foreman at his factory for delivery at Piarco Airport to Nagib Moses, whom he had notified of the arrangement by telephone.

  • (h) The other payments, apart...

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