Legal bills were $100,000 a month plus for five years: John Symond

Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond paid at least $100,000 to $150,000 after tax every month to lawyers over a five year period to defend his reputation after receiving a $7 million tax bill from the Australian Tax Office based on poor advice from a former partner of law firm Gadens.

The tax bill with penalties - paid in full in 2008 - related to a restructuring of the Aussie Home Loans business to facilitate a loan Symond sought to build his Point Piper mansion.

Speaking to Ross Greenwood on 2GB Money News this week following Supreme Court Justice Robert Beech-Jones ruling last week that he had received “aggressive and wrong” advice by former Gadens partner Ross Seller in 2003 and 2004, Symond said the court case was about protecting his reputation as well as receiving justice.

John Symond built his reputation on the back of Aussie Home Loans offering ordinary Aussie battlers a fair go when it came to home loan deals with his catch-phrase “We’ll save you” and by his promise to keep the major banks honest.

“It was primarily about reputation, that was the main thing I was concerned about,” said John Symond to Ross Greenwood.

He told Greenwood he received a letter from the tax office after they completed their investigations, which he says showed “no signs of me, nor any of my companies, trying to avoid paying income tax”.

But to clear his name took many years and millions of dollars.

“I went for at least five years paying at least $100,000 to $150,000 after tax dollars every month to lawyers,” said Symond.

“[Gadens] gave me terrible advice and caused me to pay unnecessarily millions of dollars in double taxation to the tax office

“Even the tax office admitted they were never out of pocket a dollar,” he said.

Symond's mansion in Point Piper on Sydney harbour was completed in November 2006.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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