Latter's Transport investigated for insolvent trading

Jim Latter may face insolvent trading claims after revelations his company stayed afloat by not paying taxes and employee entitlements

By Brad Gardner | April 20, 2010

Jim Latter may face claims of insolvent trading after revelations his company stayed afloat by not paying taxes and employee entitlements.

ATN has learnt that Latter’s Transport—one of Queensland’s largest road transport companies that went into liquidation last month—kept on trading despite racking up unpaid bills of more than $4.7 million.

A report detailing the company’s assets and liabilities and obtained by ATN shows Latter’s owes more than $1.4 million to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

It owes $249,467 to Workcover Queensland and $603,753 in superannuation, with the rest of its multimillion-dollar debt made up of toll fees and payments to businesses and trade creditors.

Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants, which was appointed liquidator last month and is investigating the running of the company, found Latter’s owes another $359,000 in payroll taxes.

"Continued trading was financed by means of failing to pay creditors," Ivor Worrell, a partner at the firm, says.

"The liquidators are presently examining whether they have a substantial insolvent trading claim against Mr Jim Latter."

Those found guilty of knowingly trading insolvent may face compensation claims, a maximum fine of $220,000, up to five years in jail and the prospect of being disqualified from running companies.

Employees are also chasing entitlements beyond superannuation, but Worrell expects creditors will only receive five cents in every dollar "if they are lucky".

The assets and liabilities report shows employees are owed $94,264 in wages, $162,616 in holiday pay and $30,999 in long service leave payments.

Latter’s lists $1.98 million in assets in the report, with $1.7 million of that figure stemming from money owed to the operator.

It had $909 cash in hand and $8,082 in the bank, according to the report.

The liquidators expect to report to creditors within the next three months.

Once the liquidator finishes its investigation, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will decide if legal action is warranted.

As reported by ATN last month, the ATO was given approval to wind up Latter’s over the unpaid tax debt on March 9.

The tax office lodged its application in January. Worrells was appointed administrator on February 10 before being appointed liquidator the following month.

Latter’s was founded in 1969 and grew into a major subcontractor for the likes of Toll and NQX.

The company boasted of a fleet of 80 prime movers and more than 140 trailers.

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