A disgruntled taxpayer who lost his wealth, health and marriage after a five-year tax audit has lodged a statement of claim in the Federal Court seeking $5.1 million in damages, alleging the commissioner of taxation acted negligently and in breach of his statutory duties. Another taxpayer who fought the Australian Taxation Office for a decade and won six times through the courts but is out of pocket nearly $1 million is considering personal action against the agency, amid calls by leading tax academics that compensation rights and the taxpayers’ charter should be enshrined in law.
Sydney architect Gary Kurzer battled the ATO for five years over an audit gone bad. The ATO originally demanded $407,000 in tax and penalties, which was later reduced to $8700 after former commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo stepped in and ordered a review of his case. However, as Crikey revealed in January, Kurzer’s lingering battle ruined his health, relationship and finances. After rejecting a $70,000 offer from the ATO to settle the matter, he told Crikey: “I will now be seeking a realistic monetary claim that reflects my losses in the Federal Court for negligence and breach of statutory duty against the Tax Office.”