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Sometimes people can do with a break: 3 ways tax debt relief rules are too tough

By Ann Kayis-Kumar, Associate Professor, UNSW
Kevin O'Rourke, Lecturer, UNSW
Michael Walpole, Professor, UNSW
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When Debbie (not her real name) lost her main client and was left without a reliable income, the sole trader sold her home and adjoining investment unit to pay off her debts and ensure she had the means to support her daughter and herself.

But things didn’t work out as she had hoped.

A year later she was still mired in debt – only now to the Australian Tax Office, owing more than A$70,000 in capital gains tax from the sale of the investment property. By the time the payment deadline came, she still owed about A$61,000 plus A$13,500 in ATO-charged interest.

So…


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