A HOLBROOK man, who suffers from a speech impediment and has been involved in long-running legal action with his former boss, has set up a one-man protest outside the Albury tax office.
Ricky Hicks set up camp outside the Smollett Street premises on Monday morning with a fold-out chair and handwritten sign stating “protest day 1”.
The earthmover said he was upset at the tax office accepting returns which were deposited in his name by his former employer.
Mr Hicks said he had given permission for bookwork to be done by his ex-boss, but not tax returns.
“I’m wanting the tax office to help me out,” he said.
“They said ‘they would give my life back’. I’m going to sit here until I find answers.”
But late on Monday, Mr Hicks moved on after he was given an assurance that he would get a meeting next week to discuss his case.
Mr Hicks’ protest follows long-running legal action against his former employers Cathy Rae Pollock and Ronald Paul Pollock on the basis of alleged false and misleading representation about his work.
He had been awarded $139,296.99 by the District Court but lost that when a court of appeal deemed the original judge had erred in his duty to unrepresented litigants and provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act which had been used as the basis of the claim by Mr Hicks' solicitor Peter Simpson did not apply because they only began on January 1, 2011.
Mr Hicks said his legal avenues had largely been exhausted and he was wanting help from the tax office.
In response to the protest, a representative said: “The ATO takes all information provided to us by the community seriously, we consider it, assess the risks and take action where appropriate.
“We can't comment on taxpayers' affairs given our obligations around confidentiality under the law.”
However in a letter to Mr Hicks in June, a tax office assistant director Anthony Loughnan offered sympathy.
“I am sorry to hear of the difficulty you have experienced with your previous employer,” he wrote.
After checking material from Mr Hicks, Mr Loughnan stated “none of the documents you have provided are evidence of tax evasion”.
Mr Hicks attracted a number of glances from curious passers-by.
“People have said ‘hook into them’ and ‘good luck’,” Mr Hicks said.