Trust tangles with IRD
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.