Political candidate cops $38K fine for decade-long tax fail
A CANDIDATE running for the Country Liberal Party in the NT election was once fined more than $38,000 because he failed to lodge tax returns for his business for 10 years.
The NT News can reveal CLP candidate for Goyder Phillip Battye pleaded guilty in Darwin Local Court in 2016 after being charged with 34 counts of failing to furnish a GST return between July 2005 and June 2015 and 11 counts of failing to lodge tax returns from July 2003 to June 2014.
Court documents show Mr Battye's defence lawyer argued the sole trader boilermaker was remorseful and didn't have a "business mind with paper work" and was focused instead on building and constructing.
Mr Battye told the NT News he didn't have an accountant at the time and didn't fully grasp the tax system.
"I got behind and behind thinking I could do it and at the end of the day it got too much for me," he said.
The Humpty Doo resident called for the government to provide more support for small traders to navigate the notoriously complex system.
Mr Battye is the second CLP candidate to come under a cloud this week, just 70 days out from the election, after it was revealed Arafura candidate Gibson Farmer was charged with drink driving last weekend.
Asked if he believed this could hurt his chances at the election, Mr Battye said: "Could well do, but it is what it is, there's nothing I can do about it."
He remortgaged his house, took out a substantial loan and paid off all his fines and outstanding tax but managed to fight the Australian Taxation Office and get $92,000 back.
CLP president Ron Kelly confirmed the party was aware of the "historic tax issue". He said Mr Battye has the party's full support.
Mr Kelly said the CLP had good candidates.
The court was told Mr Battye had no prior tax offences, to which the judge said "I'm not surprised, he hasn't been putting his tax returns in".
For failing to lodge GST returns Mr Battye was convicted and fined $38,208 including costs, and for failing to lodge tax returns he was fined $8208 including costs.
Originally published as CLP candidate copped $38K fine for decade-long tax return fail