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Creative excuses blasted as tax case thrown out of court

Bendigo Court

A court has convicted and fined a man $6,000 for failing to lodge six tax returns, despite his attempts to skirt the obligations by saying he does not consider himself a person.

Glen James Polglaise of North Bendigo told the Bendigo Magistrates Court that he did not accept the six charges of failing to lodge an income tax return because he was “a human being who waives my right to recognition as a person.”

Mr Polglaise had failed to submit six tax returns for the financial years ending 2012 to 2017.

The ATO had repeatedly contacted Mr Polglaise on his obligations to file his tax returns on the basis that he was earning income.


A final notice to lodge the six tax returns by 18 January 2018 was sent to Polglaise on 30 November 2017.

In his defence, Mr Polglaise referred to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Universal Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to waive his right to personhood.

“As I waive my right to recognition as a person, I am not a resident for tax purposes,” he said.

Instead, magistrate Michael King found Mr Polglaise guilty of all six charges, noting that paying tax did not contravene human rights, and rubbishing Mr Polglaise’s arguments as “entirely lacking in merit”.

Mr Polglaise was convicted and fined $6,000 plus costs, and ordered to lodge outstanding tax returns by 1 May.

“That would make a mockery of the law,” said Dr King.

“This was persistent and blatant disregard of income tax law.”

Income tax obligations

Lodging tax returns is a key compliance requirement of all residents for tax purposes. Failure to lodge signals to the ATO that there may be a compliance issue with a person’s finances, or that they may be dodging tax. 

The ATO now has unprecedented access to the personal financial information of people and companies earning income in Australia, as well as third-party data. This means the chances of avoiding tax or lodgement obligations in 2019 and beyond is slim. 

You can learn what else the ATO will be targeting this tax time here. 

Creative excuses blasted as tax case thrown out of court
Bendigo Court
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