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The worst attempt ever at getting a tax debt forgiven due to serious hardship

A surgeon who did not pay taxes (either GST or income taxes) for 6 years found that he owed $1.2 million when the Commissioner caught up with him. He argued at the AAT that he should be released from his tax debt as he would suffer serious hardship if he was required to satisfy the debt.

I love his arguments…

If he was required to pay this amount of tax, he might not be able to rent the house in the exclusive upper north shore suburb of Sydney (Wahroonga) that was currently costing him $1,800 a week to rent. He claimed the house with three bathrooms, a pool and billiard games room on the lower level and a rumpus room on the upper level was a “modest home”. Imagine having to live in a house with one bathroom and no billiards room?

If he was required to pay this amount of tax, he could not afford to spend the $110,000 a year he spent on some of the most exclusive private schooling for his kids. He was aware that “some of Sydney’s best public schools are located in his area”. Imagine your kids going to a public school?

If he was required to pay this amount, he would not be able to spend $63,799.43 in overseas travel (as he spent in 2019) on a trip to England and what he called an ‘educational trip’ to Montreal and Boston. Imagine having to go on a driving holiday?

If he was required to pay the amount, he could not continue to spend $51,600 per annum or $4,300 per month on what he called groceries, clothing and household costs. Of course this includes restaurant dinners, theatre tickets and parking fees which “could be economised on” a bit. Imagine eating at home and watching TV? Imagine taking public transport to work?

The AAT refused to release him from the debt…

By Ken Mansell

As a stay at home Dad most of the week this is my way of pretending I am still the tax counsel of ASX and SEC listed companies, working at big 4 firms, working at the Federal Treasury, on the Henry Review and at Parliament House for the previous government.

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