01 Feb 10 Decision Impact Statement - Barnes Development
The ATO has issued a Decision Impact Statement in relation to the Federal Court decision in FCT v Barnes Development Pty Ltd  FCA 830;  ATC 20-121. The case concerned whether an action in debt arises under general law to recover an amount required to be paid to the Commissioner by a notice given under s 260-5 of the Tax Administration Act 1953.
The taxpayer contended that s 260-5 does not enable the Commissioner to pursue civil recovery proceedings, as it is a penal provision, and that non-compliance with this provision does not entitle the Commissioner to recover from it the amount specified in the notices. After consideration of the relevant authorities, the Court rejected the taxpayer's various arguments and concluded that there is nothing to displace the ordinary rule that, where a statute creates an obligation to pay money, an action in debt will lie to enforce the obligation.