The Full Federal Court has upheld amended assessments increasing a taxpayer’s income by almost $10 million because the taxpayer could not prove that the assessments were excessive. In so doing, it dismissed the taxpayer’s appeal against the primary judge’s decision reported at Bosanac v FC of T  FCA 946.
The taxpayer derived income from share trading and consultancy work but did not lodge any tax returns for the tax years from 2006 to 2013 until after the Commissioner had commenced an audit of his tax affairs in 2014. The Commissioner initially assessed the taxpayer on the basis of the returns lodged by him, but after the audit and objection, issued amended assessments increasing his taxable income in the relevant years by approximately $10 million.
The taxpayer’s appeal to the Federal Court against the amended assessments was unsuccessful. The primary judge concluded that the taxpayer had not established that any of the assessments issued to him were excessive. The taxpayer failed to adduce sufficient evidence to prove his income, both as to its source and amount.
The taxpayer then appealed to the Full Federal Court.
The Full Federal Court dismissed the taxpayer’s appeal stating that the grounds relied upon by the taxpayer made no real challenge to the key factual findings upon which the decision of the primary judge rested.
In reaching its decision, the court stated that the burden on the taxpayer was to demonstrate that each assessment was excessive. It rejected the taxpayer’s submissions that this burden had been discharged and said the submissions fell embarrassingly short of what was required to demonstrate factual error. There was no particularity as to the nature of the factual error and the submissions did not engage with all the evidence before the primary judge.
Bosanac v FC of T  FCAFC 116, Greenwood, Burley and Colvin JJ, 15 July 2019.