Curtis Island worker's tax claims challenge rejected
A TRIBUNAL has reached a decision on a case questioning the legitimacy of work-related claims made for a former Bechtel worker's tax returns.
The Australian Appeals Tribunal has rejected the challenge to Australian taxation law put forward by Corporate Accountants, labelling some justification for the claims as "vague".
The test case, put before the tribunal in April last year, was finalised on Friday.
The tribunal found work related claims including for overtime meals, mobile phone bills and tool expenses were not legitimate.
The decision follows a mass audit completed by the Australian Taxation Office on Bechtel workers in 2015, which found inconsistencies between workers' claims.
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The ATO repeatedly urged workers to resubmit their taxes while Corporate Accountants, which represented hundreds of Bechtel workers, stood by its firm's work.
In the test case, the pipe fitter argued he and other tradespeople would take a tool bag on the ferry to work at Curtis Island.
But AAT deputy president Ian Molloy was "not satisfied" the worker's claim for tool expenses of $945 was correct.
The former Bechtel worker admitted he thought his claim "was barely a quarter" of that amount, about $240.
His mobile phone claim of $519 was also dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
"The only evidence in support [of the worker's] claim are Telstra accounts," Mr Molloy said.
"There is no break-down on the accounts showing calls or other usage.
"There is nothing to say where any calls were made from, their time, or duration."
Mr Molloy described the documentation behind the overtime meal expenses as "vague".
The Commissioner allowed $1876 of the worker's $4986 claimed for overtime meals, leaving more than $3000 in claims as incorrect.
Bechtel workers issued new tax returns following the audit in 2015. Gladstone accountants and tax agents were also interviewed as part of the investigations.
How it unfolded |