The District Court of Queensland has allowed the appeal of the director and controller of a company from a decision of a Magistrate in which she pleaded guilty to 7 offences for failing to lodge income tax returns and 31 offences for failing to lodge GST returns for which she was fined $10,000 and $30,000, respectively. As a result, the Court reduced the penalties to $5,000 for failing to lodge income tax returns and to $25,000 for failing to lodge BAS statements.
In allowing the appeal and reducing the penalties, the Court did so essentially on the basis that the Magistrate did take into account a range of matters including the plea of guilty, the fact there was previous compliance, the statutory nature of the penalty regime and the appellant’s reliance on her accountant. The Court also said that the Magistrate erred in not considering the principle of “totality” in applying the penalty.
In addition the Court found that the Magistrate erred in not to considering the appellant’s financial circumstances before making the orders – and nor did the Magistrate mention her good character reference or the fact that she had no previous convictions.
(Bamsang Pty Ltd v FCT  QDC 189, Queensland District Court, Smith DCJA, 25 July 2016.)