Tax office chases The Block’s landscape master
Many contestants on The Block nearly ran out of money building their dream homes this year, but they weren't the only ones on the hit television show with financial troubles.
The business of a legendary landscaper on The Block is at risk of being wound up by the ATO over a $250,000 unpaid tax bill.
The Australian Tax Office wants to dissolve Dave Franklin's award-winning landscape design company, which has thrived from being a regular fixture on Nine's reality reno juggernaut.
The Block had its own cash crisis ahead of the finale last Sunday when several couples threatened to quit after their $250,000 budgets almost dried up.
Mr Franklin has been suffering his own real-life money woes and is headed for a legal showdown with the tax man at a Federal Court hearing next month.
But the tradie dubbed The Block's 'secret weapon' insists that won't go ahead as he intends to hand over a quarter of a million dollars within the next few weeks.
"We just want to pay it, put it behind us and focus on the new year," he told The Daily Telegraph.
"There's a lot of tradesmen and small businesses that do struggle with paying a lot of taxes, because no matter where you turn the corner, there's another one."
Court documents reveal Mr Franklin was served with the $254,905 debt in August and after he failed to pay within 21 days he was given an insolvency notice and liquidators were appointed.
Mr Franklin said it took him a few months to bring in new accountants to check the figures were right.
"It's sort of blown us away a little bit, but when they gave us all the evidence… we realised yes, there is a problem," he said.
Mr Franklin has been lauded as The Block's outdoor king for around a decade and is hot property for other TV gigs, having worked on popular shows including Australia's Best Backyards, Open Homes Australia and Love Shack.
With more than 25 years of experience in the industry, Mr Franklin employs several staff who finesse backyards around the country, but he says "we were unaware of payroll taxes."
"Unless you have a really good accountant who's staying on top of it, it can just come up and bite you on the bum," he said.
"We've just had a few things that have slipped past us and now instead of going on a nice holiday, I've got to pay tax!"