Monday, 28 Nov 2022

Whistleblower Richard Boyle tells court tax office work culture was woeful

Whistleblower Richard Boyle tells court tax office work culture was woeful


Whistleblower Richard Boyle tells court tax office work culture was woeful

Whistleblower Richard Boyle has told a court hearing the culture at the Australian Taxation Office was so bad that a manager was reluctant to approve his sick leave after he was punched in the head.

Boyle is seeking protections under the Public Interest Disclosure Act to avoid being prosecuted for the release of protected information, following leaks to the media about aggressive tactics used by the ATO when pursuing tax debts.

The civil case is being heard in South Australia's district court and will be a critical first test of the strength and effectiveness of national whistleblower protections.

Giving evidence on Monday, Boyle painted a picture of a dysfunctional organisation and suggested he had no choice but to release the information publicly.

Boyle has told the court that the ATO pressured staff to be heavy-handed when collecting debts from taxpayers, including some who were ill, being abused, or who had been through fires or floods.

He said he was concerned that taxpayers were at risk of suicide or other harm because of the stress of being chased for the debts by the ATO, which he said included directing staff to use garnishee notices. Garnishee notices allow third parties such as banks to take people's money from their accounts to hand over to the ATO.

He also outlined what he called maladministration within the ATO, and how he was victimised, placed "under undue scrutiny", and bullied once he started speaking out.

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