'I didn't go the 'cowards' way', bankrupt lawyer explains
A ROCKHAMPTON lawyer bankrupted by the Australian Taxation Office says he will continue practising law.
Doug Winning of Winning Lawyers says he tried to negotiate with the ATO about the remaining unpaid debt from a $186,242 total after paying off $73,000 last year, but the ATO rejected the offer and bankrupted him.
He said the bankruptcy named him personally, not the law firm.
"I didn't go into voluntary bankruptcy," Mr Winning told The Morning Bulletin.
"I have a debt to the Australian Taxation Office and last year, I reduced it by $73,000."
The Deputy Commissioner of Taxation bankrupted Mr Winning on April 19.
READ MORE: Rocky lawyer in stoush over tax
Mr Winning had been ordered to pay the tax debt by a District Court registrar on October 24, 2017, but failed to do so.
The District Court court claim says Winning accrued a "running balance account" debt for debts under the BAS (Business Activity Statement) provisions or debts for "administrative overpayments".
Mr Winning says the outstanding $100,000 related to interest and penalties.
He said between what he owed to the ATO and Legal Services Commission, where he was ordered to pay $71,532 in legal costs after being found guilty of professional misconduct in 2015, his debt levels were "too much".
"The prosecutorial complaints that have been levelled at me over the last 15 years... it takes a toll," Mr Winning said.
"Dealing with those matters... it takes time."
He said the debt accumulated (with the District Court) defending himself and his clients.
"I made an offer to them (ATO) to extend and pay off the debt, which they rejected," Mr Winning said. "I didn't go the 'cowards' way."
The $71,000 legal costs order came after Mr Winning called the prosecutor in a criminal trial in 2012 "dishonest". He told The Bulletin at the time the order was made that reports in southern media that he swore at the judge were "b------t".
"This opponent of mine said something and I said 'that's f---ing b------t' to my instructing clerk as the judge was talking," he said.
"The profanities were barely audible and they certainly weren't audible to people in the public gallery."
"I will continue to practice law and I am determined to pay off my debt," he said.