On various occasions during the periods 2012 to 2018, Shane Warner Builders Limited (SWBL) regularly failed to pay GST and PAYE to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue.
In January 2018 the Commissioner filed an application to put SWBL into liquidation. The proceeding was adjourned in March 2018 whilst the Commissioner and Applicant engaged in negotiations for relief which ultimately failed due to SWBL's history of failures to pay tax arrears and failing to provide substantive supporting evidence regarding the source of funds required to settle current tax arrears.
SWBL filed an application for an interim order to stay the application for liquidation on the basis that the Commissioner erred in assessing SWBL's proposal for tax relief. After considering various case law, the High Court accepted that a Commissioner has broad discretionary decision making powers under the Tax Administration Act 1994 and further that courts would be slow to interfere with these powers. Decided case law showed that a compromise was more likely to be accepted if it could be shown that a higher net recovery would be achieved than by winding up the taxpayer. However, after the Court considered SWBL's history, it was satisfied that a higher return would not be achieved in this instance, and that the Commissioner had acted fairly in considering and declining SWBL's proposals for tax relief.
The application for interim relief was accordingly declined.
A copy of the decision can be found here.