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27 Feb 2008
Appeal Status
Not appealed

Judicial review

2008 case note - Judicial Review, compliance with statutory timeframes in response to default assessments, Notice of Proposed Adjustment and returns must be filed.

Gary James Christieson v The Commissioner of Inland Revenue

Taxation Administration Act, 1994; Judicature Amendment Act 1972


The taxpayer failed to file income tax returns with his NOPA in response to a default assessment, as a result the Commissioner rejected the taxpayer's NOPA. The taxpayer considered the Commissioner's decision to reject the NOPA was unreasonable and therefore commenced Judicial Review proceedings in the High Court.


This was an application for judicial review filed by the plaintiff against a decision of the Commissioner.

The taxpayer and his wife failed to file income tax and Goods and Services Tax returns for three income years. An investigation was conducted and the Commissioner issued default assessments. Mr Christieson failed to comply with the statutory time limits for filing returns and responding with a Notice of Proposed Adjustment. The taxpayer admitted it in his affidavit that returns were filed one month out of time yet he contended by way of review, that the Commissioner had improperly exercised his statutory powers


His Honour found that the taxpayer had been advised of the time limits set out in the Tax Administration Act 1994 when the Commissioner issued the default assessments. Counsel for the Commissioner had prepared a table of all the relevant dates which his Honour incorporated into his decision. The table, supported by affidavit evidence had not been contested by the taxpayer. His Honour held that no case had been made out and the plaintiff abandoned his claim. His Honour stated:

[6] Counsel for the taxpayer must have been aware of the requirement for strict compliance with statutory timeframes in this area: Allen v The Commissioner of Inland Revenue [2006] 3 NZLR 1 (CA). Mr Christieson's failure to exercise his statutory right ended his entitlement to invoke the dispute procedure unless the Commissioner invoked his discretionary power to further extend time. He can, of course, only do so in exceptional circumstances. There is no evidential basis for suggesting that he should have done so here.

His Honour held that the claim was ill-founded, ill-advised and completely devoid of merit. His Honour held that the plaintiff's allegations "verge on the scurrilous" and were "gratuitous and unsubstantiated denigration of the motives of the Commissioner's employees". His Honour awarded costs to the Commissioner on an indemnity basis.