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How the Qld Office of State Revenue's powers can affect business owners

Last week the Qld State Government announced a change at the top of the Office of State Revenue, which is responsible for collecting state taxes like stamp duty, land tax and payroll tax.  The new Commissioner, Ms Elizabeth Goli, was until recently a Senior Assistant Commissioner in the Australian Taxation Office’s indirect taxation section.

 

Perhaps what is most interesting is the wording of the State Government’s announcement, which appears to foreshadow an even more aggressive tax collection approach from the Office of State Revenue under the cover of paying down debt.
 
Given that the Qld Office of State Revenue has perhaps the most extensive collection powers of any authority in Australia (including the ATO), this should make Qld business owners very, very worried.  Many people are not aware that the Qld Office of State Revenue has these powers which include:
 
• The ability to issue assessments based on their belief of a particular state of affairs, and not on hard evidence – as with the ATO, the Office of State Revenue can accuse you of underpaying state taxes and you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.
• The ability to use extensive collection powers, such as accessing your bank accounts and forcing your debtors to pay the government instead of you (garnishee powers).
• The ability to recover from a wide range of other companies which may be deemed to be grouped with your company under the extensive grouping powers in the payroll tax legislation.
• Requiring you to pay the alleged debt in full prior to commencing appeal proceedings in either the Qld Supreme Court or the Qld Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
 
SMH Tax Lawyers has had extensive and recent experience against the Qld Office of State Revenue – particularly in the area of payroll tax and land tax disputes. The payroll tax laws are particularly complex and difficult for small and medium sized businesses to administer. If the new Commissioner heralds an increase in the activities of the Office of State Revenue, we anticipate that there will be a lot more litigation in the area of payroll tax.
 

Posted in: Tax & ATO News Australia at 14 January 14

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Tax & ATO News Australia

Author: David Hughes

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