ATO out for bite of biscuit

UP TO 80 jobs hang in the balance after the Australian Taxation Office launched action to wind up part of the Byron Bay Cookie Company.

The Deputy Commissioner of Taxation lodged documents against the gourmet biscuit producer in the Federal Court last Thursday.

It is unclear how much the company, owned by Slater International, owes the tax office but it has issued a statement claiming that it would not disrupt their business.

COOKIE CRUMBLING? The Byron Bay Cookie Company is being taken to court by the Australian Taxation Office.
COOKIE CRUMBLING? The Byron Bay Cookie Company is being taken to court by the Australian Taxation Office. Cathy Adams

"We have been advised that the ATO has issued a court notice against part of the manufacturing division of the company," it reads.

"We are attending to the matter and will issue a formal statement in due course.

"Byron Bay Cookie Company has been proudly Austra- lian owned and baked for 23 years and we are dedicated to ensure the continued success of our organisation."

The matter will be heard in the Federal Court on April 12.

It has marred what was set to be a big year for the company which was founded in the Byron hinterland by Gary Lines and Maggie Miles in 1990 and now has a factory in the Byron Bay Industrial Estate.

As The Northern Star reported in January, the company has secured a contract to supply Woolworths supermarkets around the country.

As a result, they have expanded into a second factory at their Brigantine St base and were looking to increase the hours of some of their existing 80 staff and potentially even recruit more.

As late as last Friday when rumours began to emerge, a company representative insisted that its expansion plans were continuing.

The company scored high-profile international exposure when its products were featured in the goodie bags handed out to leading actors at the Oscars and the Golden Globe Awards this year.

The Sydney-based chairman of Slater International, Gordon Slater, bought into the company 10 years ago and became the sole owner in 2005.

Its turnover is more than $13 million a year and clients include Jetstar, David Jones, Bunnings Cafes and McCafe.

The ATO declined to comment.



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