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Published 17 April 2013 10:21, Updated 18 April 2013 07:32
Deloitte and Competitive Foods, the private company of Jack Cowin, pictured with Fairfax Media chief Greg Hywood, have had discussions about how to convince the Office of State Revenue to hand back stamp duty that could exceed $1 million. Photo: Wayne Taylor
Fast-food king Jack Cowin and big four accounting firm Deloitte could end up in court over a failure to lodge a form that would have saved Mr Cowin hundreds of thousands of dollars in stamp duty.
The potential stoush relates to a bread-and-butter transfer of commercial properties in Perth as part of an asset consolidation within Competitive Foods, Mr Cowin’s private company that franchises out Hungry Jack’s restaurants around Australia and KFC outlets in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
It is possible for the one owner to transfer property within a corporate group in WA with a stamp duty exemption as long as an application to the Office of State Revenue (OSR) is made within 12 months.
But in this case the application was never made, according to well-placed sources. The failure to apply for an exemption has forced Competitive Foods and Deloitte to make a plea to the OSR for relief despite the oversight.
A Deloitte spokesperson would not comment on a “client matter”. Competitive Foods declined to comment because it did not want to prejudice any future legal action.
Sources close to both sides privately blame the other for failure to do the appropriate paper work and disagree on key facts. Even the date of the original transfer of the properties is in dispute, with one source close to Deloitte putting it at 2008 and another close to Cowin at 2011.