Are we all equal under the law and does it apply to the ATO?

John Andrews made this Freedom of Information request to Department of the Treasury

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Department of the Treasury.

Dear Department of the Treasury, Attention Josh Frydenburg

In summary a tax return was returned to the tax office accompanied by an affidavit supporting a claim for the entire deduction the tax office had collected over the previous financial year and for this amount to be returned on the basis of the substantive points made in the accompanying affidavit. Initially, the tax office did not respond but when they did they weren't talking in terms of an affidavit, but a letter, which apparently was regarded as a complaint, because their reply came from the complaints department, whom we had never contacted. The response indicated that the claim would not be processed but no actual reason that addressed the subject matter was given, thus the affidavit was ignored, in fact they made a point of saying that they would not respond, and as a bonus conveyed a threat of legal action should we persist in seeking a reply. We responded by saying that either the department must either process the claim or give a good reason why the claim was rejected, to which there was no reply, until we made a complaint with the Ombudsmen's office. Lawful practice insists that an unrebutted affidavit becomes a judgement in law and so a commercial judgement in our favour occurred as a consequence of their refusal to respond to it. However neither the ATO nor the Ombudsman appear not to observe lawful process and we suddenly received notice that we were to be the subject of an audit, and were to be charged 50% of the tax we had claimed as a penalty.

We responded by informing the ATO that we would respond to their demands for receipts if they could provide proof of their claims of authority. We requested they provide proof that they were a bona fide authority who had the power to demand anything of us given the High Court case, Moeliker vs. Chapman seemed to indicate that the ATO was an illegitimate organisation. Furthermore we asked for proof that the paying of income tax is a compulsory requirement and then asked for proof that a valid contract existed between this foreign, privately owned corporation and ourselves. The main point made in the original affidavit and repeated at this juncture is that we asked for proof that any affairs involving the commercial, fictional entity identified as the uppercase JANE DOE who has never worked, drawn an income or has never driven a car could create any liability for the private, sentient living breathing woman identified as Jane Doe.

It is up to the person making a claim for the payment of money or demand for performance to provide proof to back up their claim but the ATO has also ignored this requirement of the law to send their penalty paperwork to us in fragrant disregard of the law, so my question to the Prime Minister and the Treasurer is do they, like the Ombudsman claim that no one is above the law, while permitting various government departments to actually ignore the rule of law and of due process, not to mention the actual maxims of law that have guided its application over hundreds of years?

Yours faithfully,

John Andrews

FOI, Department of the Treasury

Dear Mr Andrews

On 21 November 2019 you submitted a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).

We are not able to process your request as a request for information is not a valid request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

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Freedom of Information Officer
The Treasury
Ph: +61 2 6263 2800
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