AUSTRALIAN UNDERWORLD FIGURE MICK GATTO settles $15M tax bill for less than $4M
ABOVE + BELOW – Mick Gatto
Mr Gatto is believed to have settled his five-year fight with the tax office for a fraction of the original assessment that claimed he had concealed wealth in the names of family members.
The Australian Taxation Office has accepted a settlement worth about a quarter of the total value of his bill, sources say.
The resolution of Mr Gatto’s protracted battle with the tax office is understood to have prompted the decision to offload his mansion in Lower Plenty — dubbed Chateau Gatto — for $4.1 million last year.
The dispute with the tax office has also left Melbourne’s most persuasive debt collector with legal costs of almost $1 million
Mr Gatto declined to comment on the settlement, except to say he was “not happy”.
Mr Gatto had been served with a $10 million tax assessment in November 2012 following a five-year investigation by the tax office and the Purana anti-gangland taskforce into the complex and secretive business affairs of the former Carlton Crew boss.
Investigators allege that he had concealed his true wealth through a web of cash transactions, and businesses and properties that were held in the name of family members and associates.
Mr Gatto first became aware of the tax bill when his credit card was rejected at a Sydney restaurant. At the time, he claimed the tax office had emptied all his business and private accounts. “They left a zero balance,” he told Fairfax Media in 2012.
The tax bill demanded $4 million for his company Arbitrations and Mediations, $2.6 million in personal tax, $2.6 million for his three children, and $800,000 for his wife.
“Now, I’m not crying, because I am a big boy and I’ll get by because I have plenty of friends, but how is the average person supposed to fight something like this when they freeze all your money? It is simply not right.”
The long-running dispute was almost resolved in 2014, when the tax office rejected an offer of $500,000 from Mr Gatto, but conceded it would be unable to substantiate its claim to some of his wealth.
Mr Gatto’s tax bill is understood to have ballooned to $15 million with penalties and interest since 2012.
Living on cash has presented its own problems over the past five years, with Mr Gatto becoming embroiled in a criminal investigation last year after a fake $100 note was passed at a restaurant on the same night he had dinner there.
Police raided his homes in Lower Plenty and the Mornington Peninsula and found $80,000 in cash, none of which was counterfeit.
It is understood Mr Gatto is now living in the coastal home that his wife bought for $1.7 million in 2009.
In 2002, the Cole royal commission into the building industry was told that Mr Gatto and associate Dave “The Rock” Hedgcock had understated their incomes from industrial mediation work.
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