Industry News

Sludge weighs up selling The Phantom due to massive tax bill

Paul “Sludge” Andrews is considering selling his beloved Peterbilt, The Phantom, due to being hit with a massive tax bill.

The Outback Truckers star, whose eye-catching purple truck is a major fan favourite, has been unable to work since suffering serious injuries in a motorbike accident in March 2023.  

And although he recently told Big Rigs that he was slowly recovering and hoping to get back behind the wheel soon, the Insurance Commission of WA have said otherwise.  

Sludge’s wife Wendy told Big Rigs: “The Insurance Commission have said that they aren’t going to sign Paul off to get back to work for at least another year. 

“That’s been a real kick in the gut.” 

Wendy got behind the wheel of Sludge’s famous Peterbilt, The Phantom, for a new episode of Outback Truckers. Image: Sludge/Wendy Andrews

Sludge and Wendy are now faced with a tax bill of $140k, which they are unable to afford.  

“Prior to the accident, Paul was carting fuel,” Wendy said.  

“He had decided to get out of that and sell his tankers.  

“He sold the first lot of tankers and paid a huge amount of tax on those, and then he sold the second lot of tankers.  

“We had put aside money for the tax, and then Paul had the accident – so we needed that money to survive.”  

The couple have explored various options, including going into liquidation, but their accountant told them that might result in them losing their house.  

“Paul and I sat down and we said – what are we going to do?

“We realised that we had to either sell the house or get rid of The Phantom.  

“It’s not a good idea for Paul to move because he needs stability at the moment.  

“So we said we’d put it out there that we were thinking about selling the truck.” 

Sludge and Wendy tied the knot in September last year – and The Phantom was top of the guest list. Image: Sludge

Paul and Wendy made a post on Facebook explaining that they were open to expressions of interest from anyone who would like to buy the truck.  

They have been flooded with messages – and although many of them were from people interested in buying the 2008 Peterbilt 379, most have been upset at the idea of Sludge being separated from his iconic rig.  

“It has been crazy how many people are wanting to help us,” Wendy said. 

“They hate the idea of Sludge not having The Phantom anymore, because they are like a duo.  

“They probably wouldn’t care as much if Steve Graham sold his truck – you just can’t split up Sludge and The Phantom.” 

Wendy said that several well-meaning supporters set up GoFundMe accounts to try to help with the couple’s financial situation.  

However, she and Paul have asked people not to donate to these fundraisers for the time being.  

“People have set these GoFundMe pages up and we think they are doing it with good intentions, but we don’t actually know these people,” she said.  

“One of them had raised $473 in about an hour and we just panicked a little bit when we saw it.  

“We eventually got in contact with the organiser and he turned out to be genuine, but we hadn’t authorised anything and were just worried about people getting scammed.” 

Wendy said that she and Paul don’t want to come across as “charity cases”, so they are reluctant to accept donations.  

However, the overwhelming reaction to the Facebook post about selling The Phantom may prompt them to reconsider.  

“There’s been such a huge response that we didn’t expect at all,” she said.  

“So I said to Paul – look, there are so many people who want to help. Maybe we should let them.” 

She said Paul would be “heartbroken” to have to sell his prized possession, and it would also leave him without a truck to work in when he does get better.  

“We’re still weighing up our options, and if we do authorise a GoFundMe it will be totally legit and above board,” she said. 

“We might just have to bite our pride and accept help to get this tax bill sorted.”

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The post Sludge weighs up selling The Phantom due to massive tax bill appeared first on Big Rigs.

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