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This page features a selection of recent cases of potential interest to our members and subscribers, as well as news updates from the Association. You can subscribe below to stay up to date with new posts.

Please note that this page is not a complete listing of all tax cases, but focuses on decisions of presidential members of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Federal Court, and the High Court. Decisions may be removed from time to time.

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Watson as trustee for the Murrindindi Bushfire Class Action Settlement Fund v Commissioner of Taxati

TAXATION – deductibility of administration expenses incurred by scheme administrator of class action settlement fund from assessable interest income accrued on settlement fund moneys – whether expenses incurred in gaining or producing interest income under s 8-1(1)(a) of Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) (the ‘1997 Act’) – whether expenses necessarily incurred in carrying on a business for the purpose of gaining or producing interest income under s 8-1(1)(b) of the 1997 Act – whether expenses of a capital nature for the purposes of s 8-1(2)(a) of the 1997 Act Full decision here

Keys and Commissioner of Taxation (Taxation) [2019] AATA 238

TAXATION – income tax assessment objection – whether payments to the applicant are assessable income for the years ended 30 June 2012, 2013 and 2014 – whether payments made to the applicant under workers’ compensation law are loans – recovery of damages paid to reimburse workers’ compensation payments made not repayment of a loan – Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) – s 59-30(3) – whether the lump sum damages awarded to the applicant represent compensation or damages for a wrong or an injury the applicant suffered in his occupation – decision under review is affirmed Full decision here

Harding v Commissioner of Taxation [2019] FCAFC 29

TAXATION – residency of taxpayer – permanent place of abode – where primary judge found that the taxpayer was a “resident or resident of Australia” as defined in s 6 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) – where primary judge found that rented accommodation for a temporary purpose did not constitute a “permanent place of abode” – whether “permanent place of abode” should be construed by reference to a specific permanent dwelling or a geographic location TAXATION – ordinary meaning of “resides” – where primary judge found that the taxpayer’s absence from Australia and his intention not to return were sufficient to terminate his residency in Australia – whether the taxpayer was a resid

Linfox Australia Pty Ltd and Commissioner of Taxation (Taxation) [2019]

TAXATION – fuel tax credits – whether use of fuel for travelling on toll roads answers description of fuel “to use, in a vehicle, for travelling on a public road” – whether use of fuel in powering air conditioning answers description of fuel “to use, in a vehicle, for travelling on a public road” – whether fuel tax credit “taken into account” in assessment of net fuel amount – whether objection stated in sufficient detail – decision under review should be affirmed Full decision here

KKQY and Commissioner of Taxation (Taxation) [2019] AATA 204

Taxation – income tax – Division 7A of Part 3 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 - loan by company to a shareholder – loan not repaid – deemed dividend for repayment shortfall – consideration of whether earlier loan was varied or terminated – deductibility of legal fees – whether legal fees of a capital nature or on account of revenue – liability to penalty under s 284-74 of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 – recklessness – whether to remit penalty under s 298-20 of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 – decision under review affirmed Full decision here

Simpson and Commissioner of Taxation (Taxation) [2019] AATA 196

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – EXTENSION OF TIME – application for an extension of time – taxation on sale of property – whether property owned by SMSF – no discretion to deem existence of SMSF – no prospects of success – application refused Full decision here

Eichmann and Commissioner of Taxation (Taxation) [2019] AATA 162

TAXATION – Capital Gains Tax – Small Business CGT concessions – whether land is an active asset – whether storing tools on land is using the land in the course of carrying on a business – meaning of ‘used’ in the Income Tax Assessment Act – legislative intention to be ascertained by the text of the legislation itself – decision under review set aside and substituted Full decision here

NKCX and Commissioner of Taxation (Taxation) [2019] AATA 124

TAXATION – GOODS AND SERVICES TAX - whether assessments and amended assessments of net amount were excessive for purposes of s 14ZZK(b)(i) of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 - whether the Applicant was entitled to input tax credits - whether Applicant carried on enterprise of private investigations, mercantile agent, litigation support, and consultancy - whether Applicant carried on an enterprise of share trading - interpretation of s 14ZZE of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 – objection decision affirmed Full decision here

Thomas v Commissioner of Taxation [2019] FCA 114

TAXATION – consideration of the question of the orders to be made by the primary judge in each proceeding upon remitter by the Full Court of the Federal Court having regard to the orders of the High Court of Australia which set aside the orders of the Full Court and reinstated the orders of the primary judge subject to the question of the costs of each proceeding at trial being remitted to the primary judge Full decision here

Sop & Sop Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation [2019] FCA 102

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – application for summary dismissal of proceeding under s 31A(2) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976 (Cth) and r 26.01(1)(a) of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) – where applicant has no reasonable prospect of successfully prosecuting the proceeding – application allowed PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – application to set aside subpoena to produce documents under r 24.15 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) – application allowed PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – application for leave to amend originating application – where proposed amendments have no merit – leave to amend refused Full decision here

Victoria Power Networks Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation [2019] FCA 77

TAXATION – assessable income – income according to ordinary concepts – non-cash business benefits – where electricity distributors were required to connect customers to the electricity network upon request – where the connection works were carried out either by the distributor or by the customer – where, in relation to the first situation, if the connection was ‘uneconomic’, the customer paid a cash contribution to the distributor – whether the cash contribution was income according to ordinary concepts – where, in relation to the second situation, the customer was required to transfer the relevant assets to the distributor and received a rebate from the distributor – where, in relation to t

Agriwealth Capital Limited v Commissioner of Taxation [2019] FCA 56

TAXATION – applicant applied for a public (product) ruling in respect of its timber project for the 2018 year – respondent Commissioner declined to issue the ruling – applicant applied for a statement under s 13 of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth) – Commissioner took the view that his decision was not a decision to which the ADJR Act applied and that therefore he had no duty under s 13 of that Act to furnish such a written statement to the applicant – nonetheless the Commissioner set out “the reasons why” he had declined to issue a product ruling, and “the findings on material underpinning those reasons” – whether Commissioner’s declining to issue a ruling a deci

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