Tax office rejected ex-minister’s $100k+ of work expenses
Former NSW minister Katrina Hodgkinson has had more than $100,000 of work expenses rejected by the Australian Taxation Office from her time in NSW parliament.
The ATO slashed the long-serving Nationals MP's deductions from more than $160,000 to about $38,000, The Saturday Daily Telegraph can reveal.
According to audit records, her entire $20,000 out-of-pocket expenses claim was rejected, as was the $40,000 deduction she sought for an "aide de camp", or personal assistant.
Her clothing claim of $5400 was lopped to $300. Functions costs were cut from $7500 to $1760 and a petty cash deduction was lowered from $3660 to $750.
As a result, in December 2018 her tax bill was increased by $53,400.
That hit was then scaled back by 50 per cent to $26,700 after the ATO found her actions were "reckless" but not "dishonest".
Soon after, Ms Hodgkinson became the Nationals candidate for the federal seat of Gilmore on the NSW south coast.
Ms Hodgkinson told The Telegraph she had paid what she was found to have owed following the audit of her 2016 return.
"Well, of course," she said.
But the precise figure may have changed, because the matter went to court and a settlement was reached with a gag clause added.
Who the opposing party was in the case is unknown, but the resolution of the matter on a confidential basis was noted by Goulburn Local Court.
"I am not allowed to comment on any aspect," Ms Hodgkinson said.
The Telegraph asked her to explain specific items in the audit result but she declined.
Ms Hodgkinson was elected to NSW parliament in 1999 as the member for the now-defunct seat of Burrinjuck, covering an area around Yass.
When the Coalition took power in 2011, she became the first woman to be NSW primary industries minister. She was also small business minister.
She was dumped from cabinet in 2015 and left state parliament in 2017 but became federal vice president of the National party a year later.
At the 2019 federal election she finished a distant third in Gilmore, despite having the support of retiring member Liberal Ann Sudmalis.
Gilmore was the only seat Labor picked up, with the conservative vote split three ways between Scott Morrison's hand-picked Liberal candidate Warren Mundine, Ms Hodgkinson and the early frontrunner to be the Liberal nominee, Grant Schultz, who ultimately ran as an independent.
At the time Ms Hodgkinson said she would like to run again in Gilmore.
She resigned as Nationals VP after the election, telling the party she wanted to pursue other opportunities.