Uber is officially in a fight with Australia's chief tax collector

(Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

It looks like Uber might have just picked a fight with Australia’s head tax collector Chris Jordan.

Chris Jordan is commissioner of Taxation and registrar of the Australian Business Register, and he told a Senate hearing yesterday that Uber has been making public statements about its dealings with the ATO which it knows are false.


Fairfax reports Jordan told senators: “I find the statements of Uber quite odd, because we both know what actually happened.”

The dealings Jordan is referring to relate to consultations with Uber and the taxi industry before the ATO issued new industry guidelines back in May.

At issue is whether and how much Uber was consulted before the guidance was issued.

Jordan said that the ATO, “had entered into consultations with them some six or seven months prior to issuing guidance. We’d worked with them and their advisers over many meetings, many phone hook-ups, to try to come to a mutually agreeable position, [but] we could not [find one]”.

He also said Uber was provided with the final draft of the guidelines before they was issued but “couldn’t get any meaningful co-operation around registration to facilitate their UberX drivers to register for an Australian Business Number.”

Uber has released a statement saying it suggests “Mr Jordan confers with his colleagues before making these claims. The documents reveal a very different story.”

It’s all a bit he said, she said.

But for the tax commissioner to make the statements he made before a Senate hearing is no small thing. Indeed, it could be one of those career defining moments if he were found to be incorrect.

Jordan wasn’t backing away however. Using his best-veiled public service language, he made it clear that the ATO just might be paying a little more attention to Uber and its operations in Australia.

Jordan said:

If you were to have a company that was not transparent with us, and hadn’t co-operated particularly well with us, and in fact made publicly incorrect statements, that could impact our view of them

That very much sounds like Uber has just poked the bear at the ATO. That’s not generally a good idea.

You can read more here.

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