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18 May 12 Is this bureaucracy gone mad?

MEMBER 117 writes:

"I refer to a recent judgment of the Federal Court, not in a tax case as such, but in a corporations law case. The decision is Deputy Commissioner of Taxation, in the matter of ABW Design & Construction Pty Ltd v ABW Design & Construction Pty Ltd [2012] FCA 346 (4 April 2012) It is about service by the Deputy Commissioner of a statutory demand on ABW Design & Construction Pty Ltd. The point to note is that the company’s registered address is in Upper Mt Gravatt, Queensland. At paras [15]-[16], the Federal Court says:

'[15] Given the location of ABW's registered office, it may perhaps be a source of surprise to the reader that the making of the statutory demand was effected by an officer of the Australian Taxation Office stationed in Townsville in North Queensland. That surprise may be tinged with a note of irony by the following.

[16] It was common ground in this case, that, amongst the many other offices throughout Australia which the Commissioner maintains, there is an office of the Australian Taxation Office at Logan Road, Upper Mt Gravatt, on the opposite side of that road and about a 1km away from ABW's registered office. Other features at [sic] the evidence in this case were that the affidavit in support of the originating process was deposed to by another officer of the Australian Taxation Office, on this occasion stationed at the Commissioner's office at 140 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane. The audit which underpinned the various taxation debts comprising the "running balance account deficit debt" was apparently conducted by an officer of the Australian Taxation Office based in Penrith, New South Wales. The Australian Taxation Office advice (dated 28 October 2010) to ABW of the completion of that audit specified yet another address of the Australian Taxation Office, an address at Albury, New South Wales, as the address to which to request the remission of any interest charge associated with the taxation debts which were raised. A yet further Australian Taxation Office address was specified in that letter as the address to send any objection in respect of the assessments raised. That address was in Sydney, New South Wales. Though it was but a short walk away from ABW's registered office, the Commissioner’s Upper Mount Gravatt office appears not to have been assigned any role either in relation to service of the statutory demand, audit or otherwise.'

Thus, it seems at least five different offices of the ATO were involved in this affair one way or another - just not the office closest to the taxpayer company's registered office."

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