Legal

Clive Palmer takes on ATO in court over $90 million tax bill

Patrick Stafford /

Billionaire, mining mogul and recent political leader Clive Palmer has become embroiled in a dispute with the Australian Taxation Office in the Federal Court.

The suit is yet another of Palmer’s litigious expeditions – he has even said in the past he thinks of lawsuits as a hobby.

Now, Palmer’s company Mineralogy has filed documents in the Federal Court against the Australian Taxation Office, with a hearing set for July 18.

Mineralogy was contacted by SmartCompany this morning but no reply was available prior to publication. The ATO was also contacted, but declined to comment.

The Australian reports the case is focused on a capital gains tax payment of up to $90 million on the sale of iron ore mining rights sold to China in 2006.

The newspaper reports the documents lodged with the Federal Court include claims by Mineralogy that the $299 million gain it declared on the sale of the rights to China-owned Citic Pacific was overstated, and that it actually made a loss. But the ATO has denied this.

Citic Pacific is currently constructing the Sino Iron project on land owned by Palmer. The transaction in 2006 saw the sale of a subsidiary of Mineralogy to Citic Pacific, a key part in the deal.

The Australian has also reported court documents show Mineralogy completed a 2005-06 return which showed a $260.8 million capital gain on the sale. In the 2006-07 year, the company recorded an extra $38.3 million, reaching a total of $299 million.

“We don’t owe anything,” he told the publication.

Palmer is notoriously litigious. Last year, he launched a lawsuit against the Queensland government-backed rail group QR National, seeking $8 billion in damages.

Prior to this, Palmer had sued Hyatt Hotels for $60 million over a stoush with the company regarding a Sunshine Coast golf resort.

In 2011, Palmer threatened action against the federal government over the carbon tax, while in 2010, he settled a dispute with Queensland premier Anna Bligh and deputy premier Andrew Fraser regarding claims Bligh made that he was “buying” the Liberal National Party through donations.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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