Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Australian tax authorities bully Malaysian Timber Tycoon. He Sues Aussie Government

Well, I'll be, mate!
Here's an interesting story. Scary too.
Thick twice, nay, many times, before buying property in Australia. There are some nasty Aussies there.

A Sarawakian timber tycoon is suing the Australian government over their decision to force him to pay taxes amounting to AUD50m.
Daylight robbery and bullying a Malaysian, I say.
Read Rocky's Bru take:

Seeking justice in Malaysia. Wikipedia insists that kangaroo courts did not have its origins in Australia, where kangaroos come from. If that's baffling to me I can't imagine what Sarawak-born Malaysian businessman Hii Yii Ann might be thinking. Hii, 56, is fighting a decision by the Australian courts about his tax residency status that could rob him of AUD50 million!

Hii, a Malaysian passport holder who has never applied to be an Australian resident, says he's submitted to the Australian authorities documented proof that he is a Malaysian taxpayer and has never lived anywhere near long enough in Australia to be deemed the country's "tax resident". Yet, the Australian court deemed that he had denounced his Malaysian tax residency status and, therefore, owed whatever he had earned to the Australian Tax Office.

The rest of the posting HERE

Here's is The Mole report by  Zaidi Azmi
KUALA LUMPUR – November 15, 2016: A Malaysian timber tycoon is suing the Australian government for tax assessment amounting to millions of dollars in relation to income earned outside of the country.
Sarawak-born businessman Hii Yii An got into a tangle with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) after the latter changed his tax residency status to that of the country in December 2013.
This consequently led to Hii being accused of tax evasion totalling AUD$49, 774, 128.20 for the assessment years of 2001 to 2009.
Hii’s lead counsel, Datuk Alvin John, maintained that his client had never abandoned his Malaysian domicile, adding that Hii had been declaring his tax deductions throughout the said years.
“The ATO should have contacted Malaysian authorities before imposing the decision on him,” said John.
He further argued that the ATO had imposed extra-territorial jurisdiction on his client and that Australian taxation laws thus cannot be applied to Hii.
Australian law says that any person who lives in Australia for over six months or has chosen the country as his home needs to pay world tax (based on earnings outside the country).
“But he has never continuously lived that long in Australia,” said John, adding that Hii only makes short visits to Australia to see his children and check on his investments.
On why Hii decided to bring the matter to a Malaysian court, John explained that matters concerning Hii’s domicile can only be determined by the Malaysian government.
“In its defence, the Australian government is  invoking a sovereign state immunity but this immunity is not absolute.
“When you falsely claim revenue from a foreign citizen, that citizen has the right of recourse and can initiate legal action either at the international level or in his home country,” said John.
However, if the Australian government refuses to accept a ruling favourable to Hii, Alvin pledged to take the case to the International Court of Justice.
The other defendants are the commissioner and deputy commissioner of the ATO.
Today’s case management was before deputy registrar Noorasyikin Sahat. The next will be on December 6.


Anonymous said...

So only Malaysia can determine domicile? If I spend most of my time in another country, my domicile for tax purposes may change. If Hii is serious he can take this matter all the way to the High Court (it is the highest court). He will get a fair hearing and a decision will be made according to the law - not who is or who he knows.

It is perfectly safe to invest in Malaysia. There are rules regarding certain types of property e.g. residential property or large investments in farmland (some pieces are bigger than some Malaysian states). Basically you need approval of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) BEFORE you buy such property.

Australian tax legislation is quite complex and, if you are going invest many millions, it is prudent to get good tax advice to ensure you get the desired outcome. 'Tax Advisor' has become a separate profession and needs additional education, training and one usually qualifies after passing those examinations.

Having said that a simple application to buy a residential property has a FIRB application fee of AUD$5,000. Then you have to pay your lawyer, tax accountant, tax advisor etc. But it is safe to invest in Australia.

Anonymous said...

If you stay in India more than 3 months -even as a foreign visitor - there is a requirement to obtain income tax clearance before you can leave. Other countries have similar rules. So how long did this fellow stay in Australia? The news report is shallow and gives only one side of an important issue...who is liable to pay tax?