Moreton Resources Executive Chairman Jason Elks said the company would most likely appeal the decision.
Moreton Resources Executive Chairman Jason Elks said the company would most likely appeal the decision. File

Moreton Resources loses appeal over $9M debt

MORETON Resources is currently owing the ATO after their administrative appeals tribunal failed.

The mining company, which is currently undertaking the South Burnett coal project, owes $9 million to the ATO, if the administrative appeals tribunal (AAT) decision is upheld.

The administrative appeals tribunal affirmed the original decision of Innovation of Science Australia on September 10.

Moreton Resources executive chairman Jason Elks said the decision was currently under review by the board, and whilst a final decision is yet to be made, it is likely Moreton Resources will appeal the decision.

"There are arrangements in place with the ATO, which provide the company with time to have its rights determined through the appeals process before any monies becomes due and payable," he said.

If the company does appeal, the debt would be payable 21 days following the outcome of an adverse appeals hearing in the Federal Court, which could take months, if not years to resolve.

The AAT decision concludes, the activities claimed by Moreton Resources were not research and development activities, as defined by the 1997 Income Tax Assessment Act.

The Moreton Resources board questions this conclusion, and is aware of some other controversies surrounding the R&D funding of similar projects across Australia.

The board reminded their shareholders of their recent financial and annual report, in which they reported a net increase in the value of their asset portfolio and the continued advancement of significant key assets within the group.

The annual 2017/18 financial report announced the company recorded their first ever underlying profit of $11 million for the 2018 financial accounts.  

General interest provisions continue to accrue against the total sum owed to the ATO, and the board will make an informed decision regarding the appeal over the coming weeks.

They will seek to minimise the cost to the company, including considering part payments of the debt, even if the appeal is lodged, to possibly minimise any future risk.