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Bankrupt taxpayers can’t get no satisfaction


For some years, the Commissioner of Taxation has relied on the decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court in McCallum v FCT for the proposition that bankrupts do not have standing to lodge objections to their assessments or to commence proceedings under Pt IVC of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 for review of or appeal from adverse objection decisions. The recent decision of the Federal Court in Grapsas v FCT reinforces that proposition.

The purpose of this article is to examine the decision in Grapsas and the manner in which the Commissioner has sought to rely on that decision to refuse to accept objections from bankrupt taxpayers. The author argues that the Grapsas approach is not merely inconsistent with established authority, it also illustrates the challenges that courts and tribunals face with the growing trend of self-represented taxpayers to ensure that the Commissioner’s submissions are not uncritically accepted.

Author profile

Matthew McKee FTI
Matthew is an Associate in the Tax Disputes and Litigation team at Argyle Lawyers (to be renamed Rockwell Olivier in March 2013), and has extensive experience in managing complex ATO audits, disputes and litigation for high net worth wealth individuals, SMEs and Project Wickenby taxpayers. Matthew combines a detailed understanding of the tax laws with a strategic approach developed from his experience in dealing with ATO officers. Matthew has run a number of successful excess contributions tax cases, including several cases where the ATO had previously refused to disregard or reallocate the excess contributions. - Current at 18 February 2013
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