Trust tan­gles with IRD

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By DEB­BIE JAMIESON

Two years af­ter it was stripped of its char­ity sta­tus, the multi-mil­lion­dol­lar Queen­stown Lakes Com­mu­nity Hous­ing Trust is fac­ing a mas­sive tax bill if no res­o­lu­tion is found soon to its tax woes. The trust has helped hun­dreds of peo­ple into more than 74 homes in the Queen­stown and Wanaka ar­eas since it was cre­ated in 2007. How­ever, a le­gal stoush that ended up in the High Court in 2011 saw it be­come the only hous­ing trust in New Zealand to be stripped of its char­ity sta­tus. The In­land Rev­enue Depart­ment then ruled that the trust was a tax­pay­ing busi­ness since 2007 but sub­se­quently sus­pended work on its tax as­sess­ment of the trust while its pol­icy arm worked with the Gov­ern­ment on try­ing to fix the prob­lem. Frus­trated trust chair­man David Cole said trustees were con­tin­u­ing to pres­sure Gov­ern­ment min­is­ters, de­part­ments and bu­reau­crats for a res­o­lu­tion. He de­clined to give trust es­ti­mates of the bill to date but said it would be sub­stan­tial. If In­land Rev­enue called the bill in the five trustees might be li­able. There might also be im­pli­ca­tions for home own­ers un­der the trust. ‘‘I sin­cerely hope that com­mon­sense pre­vails be­fore the prob­lem man­i­fests to that ex­tent,’’ Mr Cole said.

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