Harding v Deputy Commissioner of Taxation (No 2) [2008] FCA 1985


Robert Harding was a member of UPMART that bought a “GST Exemption Kit” from Malcolm McClure for $2000, only to find out it was a useless scam. He appealed the District Court decision in Harding v Deputy Commissioner of Taxation (No 2) [2008] FCA 1985  on the basis he had received misleading advice from Malcolm McClure, but it was ruled as having no relevance to his case.

“The Applicant had become indebted to the present Respondent because he falsely believed that he had a GST exemption. His small business involving the sale of batteries involved the necessity to exact GST and to account for that tax. The belief that he had a GST exemption was engendered by false representations made to him by a Mr Malcolm McClure — namely, that Mr McClure was an agent of the Australian Taxation Office and had the authority to sell “GST exemption packages”. Mr Harding had come across Mr McClure when he attended a series of seminars conducted by Mr McClure in the Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club. Mr Harding was “impressed by the professionalism of the seminars the location and the formality adopted”. Needless to say, Mr McClure had no such authority. Searches undertaken within the Australian Taxation Office disclosed no one of that name ever having been employed by that Office. Other searches undertaken disclosed that Mr McClure had close associations with a body called “U.P.M.A.R.T.”, which described itself as “[a]n association for human rights and much, much more. That was clearly a body having no connection with the Australian Taxation Office.”

A prior Notice of Motion seeking to have the proceeding heard in this Court with a jury was dismissed: Harding v Deputy Commissioner of Taxation [2008] FCA 1403.

An application for leave to appeal that decision was also dismissed: Harding v Deputy Commissioner of Taxation [2008] FCA 1516.

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