January 22, 2019
South Burnett Regional Council is seeking a $767,000 refund from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for fuel credits it incorrectly paid over a four-year period.
The error was recently uncovered by Council’s auditors KPMG Australia, and the claim is currently being assessed by the ATO.
Finance portfolio chair Cr Ros Heit told last week’s Council meeting the refund, if approved by the ATO, would increase the projected surplus in this year’s Budget from $1 million to almost $1.8 million if conditions did not change substantially.
Part of the refund – $400,000 – had been earmarked for the refurbishment of Council’s Nanango offices.
The remainder would help offset some reductions in capital grants.
KPMG was appointed by Queensland’s Auditor-General last year.
The Auditor-General appoints external accounting firms to audit the financial statements of all Queensland councils every year.
This is part of standard measures to analyse the performance, position and sustainability of councils, and the timeliness and quality of their financial reporting.
Councils are billed a substantial fee for these audits.
In February 2014, former Mayor Wayne Kratzmann reported the SBRC was paying more than $238,000 a year to the State Government for auditing.
He said this fee – plus other State Government charges for payroll tax, valuation fees and stock route charges – were adding more than 3 per cent to rates bills.