Miller v Chapman [2001] FCA 105

In Miller v Chapman [2001] FCA 105 the applicant had challenged his taxation assessments on the grounds the Australian Tax Office is not a legal entity, and the so-called “interregnum argument” based upon an asserted deficiency in the appointment of Lord Gowrie VC as Governor-General and in the giving of Royal Assent to the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936, both of which were rejected in prior jurisprudence.

It was discovered that the source of these contentions was the Institute of Taxation Research who was subsequently joined as a party to the proceeding, and ordered to pay the costs of the first respondent, the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation, who alleged that the Institute of Taxation Research was operating a “professional and smoothly run scam”.

“The Deputy Commissioner of Taxation submitted that I should further find that ITR, in its involvement with the applicant, demonstrated that it was “preying on the gullible” for its own benefit, namely the earning of fees from its clients by encouraging them to maintain what it knew or should have known were unmeritorious legal arguments.  He further submitted that that practice imposed considerable disadvantage upon its clients, both emotionally and economically.  I accept that, in the case of the applicant, his contract with ITR from about April 1999 took place when he was emotionally distressed for reasons unrelated to his taxation liability, and was also hard pressed to meet that liability.  His communications with ITR from time to time thereafter would have disclosed those circumstances to ITR.  He clearly became entirely dependent upon its advice, in a trusting and naive way.  Ultimately, when he learned that the matters he was claiming had been the subject of a number of other adverse judgments, he was clearly very disappointed and distressed.”

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