The tax bill is linked with Moreton Resources’ – then known as Cougar Energy – failed UCG plant near Coolabunia (Photo: Cougar Energy)

October 9, 2017

Moreton Resources has put forward a “payment plan” to pay off its claimed $8.18 million debt to the Australian Taxation Office, if its appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) fails.

The company, which wants to build a coal mine on the outskirts of Kingaroy, was hit with the claim in July last year.

It is a hangover from its failed underground coal gasification plant near Coolabunia which was shut down by the State Government before a trial could be completed.

The ATO is seeking repayment of $1,003,455.22 for a 2012 research and development tax offset, and $7,182,269.41 for a 2013 R&D offset, both linked to the failed UCG project.

However, Moreton disputes the company owes the money and appealed to the AAT.

In a statement to the ASX on Friday, Moreton executive chairman Jason Elks said the AAT heard the matter in February but still no decision had been made.

He said the Moreton Resources Board –  based upon its legal advice – still expected a positive decision but had entered into a binding agreement with the ATO should there be an adverse ruling.

Under this plan, 30 per cent of the debt would be paid within 90 days of an adverse ruling, 20 per cent within 180 days, 20 per cent within 270 days, 20 per cent within 360 days and the remainder within 450 days.

Mr Elks said Moreton Resources would not appeal any decision unless the company believed there had been fundamental errors in law or evidence had been misinterpreted.

However, he warned that should either party choose to appeal and escalate the AAT decision, “there are numerous steps to continue this dispute which could move into several years prior to resolution”.

This could include the AAT, Federal Court and High Court.

Mr Elks said Bowen Basin Coal Pty Ltd had agreed to act as guarantor for Moreton based upon a $20 million valuation of Moreton Resources’ Mackenzie coal asset near Blackwater.

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