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.


Origin Energy Limited v Commissioner of Taxation (No 2) [2020] FCA 409

TAXATION – appeals under s 14ZZ of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) – whether “capacity charges” payable under an agreement were outgoings of capital or of a capital nature within the meaning of s 8-1(2) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) – where “capacity charges” were paid for the exclusive supply of electricity – where outgoings were a substantial extension the profit-making structure of the applicant – where applicant had substantial control of when and how electricity was generated – where “capacity charges” were, in substance, paid up-front in a lump sum – appeal dismissed TAXATION – appeals under s 14ZZ of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) – whether expen

BAC Holdings Limited v Commissioner of Taxation [2020] FCA 413

TAXATION – income tax – where the applicant received approval to construct a new parallel runway (NPR) – where the applicant applied to the Commissioner under the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) (TAA) for a private ruling as to whether certain initial activities associated with the construction of the NPR were themselves a “project” for the purposes of subdivision 40-I of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) – whether the two phases of construction of the NPR comprise discrete “projects” or whether the construction of the NPR was but one “project” PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – where the private ruling was sought in respect of income years including 2011 to 2017 for which assessments

Stark and Commissioner of Taxation (Taxation) [2020] AATA 656

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - TAXATION – jurisdiction of the Tribunal – no jurisdiction to hear claims against Commissioner of Taxation for compensation or reimbursement of expenses, even if raised in objection or application for review Full decision here

Burns and Commissioner or Taxation (Taxation) [2020] AATA 671

TAXATION – INCOME TAX – where applicant was medically discharged from the Army – where applicant was classified under the Military Benefits and Superannuation Act 1991 (Cth) (MSB Act) as having a Class A invalidity – whether the invalidity pension payments under the MSB Act for the income years ended 30 June 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 (relevant income years) should be treated in the manner prescribed in s 307-145(1) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) (ITAA97) – where the Treasury Laws Amendment (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018 (Cth) (amending regulations) were made during the course of the review proceedings – where at the times of assessment and when the applicant exercis

Commissioner of State Revenue v Rojoda Pty Ltd [2020] HCA 7

Stamp duties – Declaration of trust – Partnership – Dissolution – Partnership assets – Nature of partners' rights in relation to partnership assets – Where freehold titles to land held by two partners as joint tenants – Where other partners not registered title holders – Where partnerships dissolved but not wound up upon death of one partner holding titles – Where surviving partner declared trusts over freehold titles for benefit of other partners in proportion to partnership interests – Where Commissioner assessed declaration of trust as "dutiable transaction" within meaning of Duties Act 2008 (WA), s 11(1) – Whether partner holding freehold titles trustee for other partners – Whether decla

Alstom Transport Australia Pty Ltd v Comptroller-General of Customs [2020] FCAFC 43

TAXATION – customs and excise – tariff concession order (“TCO”) – core criteria – substitutable goods – appeal from decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal – where TCO application made in respect of unattended trains to be incorporated into the Sydney Metro Train Network was refused – whether Tribunal erred in applying ss. 269B and 269C of the Customs Act 1901 (Cth.) – whethetarir Tribunal erred in finding that particular trains produced in Australia are “substitutable goods” in respect of the applicant’s trains – whether Tribunal misunderstood its statutory task and failed to make necessary findings of fact – whether Tribunal failed to make findings with respect to the uses to which

Commissioner of Taxation v Bosanac (No 6) [2020] FCA 339

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – cross-vesting – application for transfer of proceedings to the Family Court of Western Australia under s 5(4) of the Jurisdiction of Courts (Cross-vesting) Act 1987 (Cth) – whether appropriate and in the interests of justice to cross-vest – whether Commissioner of Taxation’s claim for declaratory relief over property interests was a ‘matrimonial cause’ – whether Commissioner’s claim for declaratory relief would conflict with relief sought under ss 78 and 79 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) – in circumstances where pursuing alteration of property interests under s 79 only a ‘mere possibility’ PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – application for variation of freezing orders – w

Deputy Commissioner of Taxation v Gould [2020] FCA 337

EVIDENCE – application for interlocutory orders regarding examination of judgment debtor conducted before a Registrar under s 41.10 of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) – privilege against self-incrimination – whether Registrar has the power to issue a certificate under s 128 of the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) – whether Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) applies to examination of a judgment debtor – whether examination “proceedings in a federal court” within the meaning of the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth) – whether Registrar required to apply the rules of evidence when conducting examination – nature of examination of judgment debtor examination as part of inter partes proceeding requires Registrar to apply ru

BHP Billiton Limited v Commissioner of Taxation [2020] HCA 5

Income tax (Cth) – Assessable income – Controlled foreign companies – Where Pt X of Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) ("Act") attributes income of controlled foreign company ("CFC") to Australian resident taxpayer who has sufficiently substantial interest in it – Where BHP Billiton Marketing AG ("BMAG") CFC of BHP Billiton Ltd ("Ltd") – Where income of BMAG derived from sale of commodities purchased by BMAG from BHP Billiton Plc's ("Plc") Australian entities – Where that income included in assessable income of Ltd if Plc's Australian entities "associates" of BMAG – Where company "associate" of entity under s 318(2) of Act if "sufficiently influenced" by entity – Where s 318(6)(b) provides

Hii v Commissioner of Taxation (No 2) [2020] FCA 345

TAXATION – where the applicant seeks to challenge under s 39B of the Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth) an audit decision and an objection decision in relation to income tax, shortfall penalty and non-lodgement penalty assessments – where the audit decision overtaken wholly by the assessments – where subsequent objection decisions overtaken wholly by the institution of taxation appeal and administrative review proceedings – where those taxation appeal and administrative review proceedings dismissed by the Federal Court and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal – where applicant has previously instituted proceedings to challenge collaterally the assessments both in the Federal Court of Australia (Federal

Greig v Commissioner of Taxation [2020] FCAFC 25

TAXATION – allowable deductions – where taxpayer made 64 separate acquisitions of shares in one company – whether the taxpayer’s acquisition of shares was made in a “business operation or commercial transaction” within the meaning of the principle established in Federal Commissioner of Taxation v Myer Emporium Ltd [1987] HCA 18; (1987) 163 CLR 199 – whether loss or outgoing was incurred in gaining or producing assessable income – whether the shares had been held by the taxpayer on revenue account – whether the shares were purchased in circumstances which were akin to, or indistinguishable from, an ordinary investment engaged by a private investor TAXATION – whether legal fees and share los

NQZG and Commissioner of Taxation (Taxation) [2020] AATA 379

TAXATION – character of payment received – founders retention amount – whether receipt was of income or capital nature – whether payment is consideration for sale of shares or a product of services – terms of agreement – decision affirmed Full decision here

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