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Russell loses appeal in $138m tax case

Thursday 21st April 2011

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The Court of Appeal has turned down an appeal by Securitibank founder John George Russell against a personal tax bill of $138 million.

The accountant had designed a scheme known as the "Russell template" in 1985 to help clients avoid tax. Having dealt with taxpayers who used the template, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) then assessed the 5% consultancy fee Mr Russell took.

Mr Russell argued he did not personally receive the income. The IRD disagreed and assessed $15 million of income. When penalties and interest were added the amount rose to $138 million.

Mr Russell alleged that the Tax Review Authority judge was unable to change his mind or take a fresh look at the arrangements after deciding 65 Mr Russell template cases and dealing with the issues for 15 years.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and ordered Mr Russell to pay the IRD's costs.

Securitibank collapsed in 1976.



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