Taxation in Australia

The Taxation in Australia Journal

Written by practitioners for practitioners Taxation in Australia® is continually ranked as Australia's leading tax journal. Access the latest issue of Taxation in Australia in print, on your iPad or Android tablet, or online with our new digital edition.

Members, you can access the digital edition here (you'll need to be logged in to the website), or find out more about our iPad and Android* version here

Not a Member? Our app brings you a selection of great free content from each issue and gives you access to our new Extra supplement. Find out more.

With a readership exceeding 35,000, Taxation in Australia is published 11 times per year and available exclusively to members in hard copy and online format, and now as an app on the Apple iPad and on Android tablets. This comprehensive publication features articles with a strong, practical approach to the latest tax issues and professional development. It is affectionately known as the Blue Journal.

Find out more about downloading the journal to your iPad or Android device here

Going paperless?

If you're happy using the digital edition of Taxation in Australia or you view it via our iPad and Android app, you can opt out of having your print copy of this journal delivered each month.

Two ways to opt out:

  1. Either opt out instantly via this website. Make sure you are logged in, select Update my details on the right hand side of home page and then click edit on the Other Information section of your profile. Simply tick Do Not Send Blue Journal in this section.
  2. Or email us. Email to, Subject: Please unsubscribe me from the print edition of Taxation in Australia.

Articles from the current issue:

  • Declaratory relief in revenue matters Add to cart

    01 Feb 2015

    Courts have long had power to make binding declarations on questions of law put before them by interested parties, provided applicants are not merely seeking advisory opinions based on purely hypothetical assumptions. This article examines the ability of courts to make declarations relating to discrete questions of law arising in revenue proceedings. The article considers, in particular, the utility of declaratory relief, limitations imposed by the conclusive evidence provisions of taxation laws, the availability of alternative remedies, the use of declaratory relief in GST cases, declarations in relation to future matters and on preliminary questions of law, the practice of the Commissioner of Taxation in seeking declarations, and jurisdiction to grant declaratory relief in anti-avoidance matters. The author concludes that the emerging use of declaratory relief in tax litigation is one of the most important and potentially innovative and effective developments in this area of the law.

  • Powers to amend trusts are no longer available from courts Add to cart

    01 Feb 2015

    To what extent can a trustee obtain from the court a power to amend the terms of the trust in the future? The practical effect of the recent decision of the Court of Appeal of New South Wales in Re Dion Investments Pty Ltd is that a trustee without power to amend the terms of the trust cannot obtain that power from the court. The omission of a power to amend in a trust’s terms will therefore be a permanent omission, at least in New South Wales. The trustee can, however, seek specific powers by way of supplementation or overriding of the existing trust terms, even for the purposes of obtaining tax advantages, if s 81 of the Trustee Act 1925 (NSW) is otherwise satisfied. The decision is significant as it confirms the lack of foundation of many earlier decisions that enabled a trustee to further amend a trust’s terms.

  • Tax tips: McClelland’s case: A shaky reed? Add to cart

    01 Feb 2015

    The Privy Council’s 1970 majority decision in McClelland’s case has caused judicial and academic debate and it is consistently cited. But there are reasons why the decision should not be regarded as authoritative.

  • Reassessment when review pending? Add to cart

    01 Feb 2015

    When a taxpayer is assessed to a taxation liability, the taxation administrator normally has power to amend the assessment by making a reassessment. Likewise, the taxpayer normally has rights of objection, review and appeal in respect of an assessment or reassessment. There is, however, a question of whether the administrator may make a reassessment with regard to an assessment which is the subject of a pending review or appeal proceeding, when the legislation does not expressly permit or preclude reassessment in that circumstance.

    It seems likely that, under the current revenue legislation of every Australian jurisdiction (except Queensland, which makes specific provision), whether or not reassessment by the administrator as of right is permissible while a review is pending is a live issue. There are authorities supporting both views. This article sets out and describes relevant legislative provisions, and then outlines and analyses the reasons supporting the opposed views.

  • The income tax and CGT consequences of property disposals Add to cart

    01 Feb 2015

    The capital gains tax regime has been in force since late 1985. Nevertheless, it is arguable that tax advisers and tax practitioners have tended to overlook one of the basic principles of the income tax system, namely, the distinction between income and capital, with respect to the characterisation of gains. This article argues that this is particularly the case with respect to gains that have been generated through property transactions, and that there is a need for care with regard to the gains arising from such transactions, even one-off transactions.

    The author puts forward and analyses four reasons why practitioners need to be careful when advising clients in this area. In particular, it is urged that practitioners should ensure that all relevant evidence as to the intention of the taxpayer is obtained at the time of acquisition of property.

  • Overseas travel by employees: When does FBT apply? Add to cart

    01 Feb 2015

    Payments made by employers to enable their employees to travel overseas and within Australia to conferences and to increase employees’ skills and knowledge may be liable to fringe benefits tax. Where, however, the “otherwise deductible” rule applies, the employer may escape some or all liability for FBT. This rule allows the gross taxable value of certain fringe benefits to be reduced by the amount of the notional “once-only” income tax deduction that the employee would “otherwise” have been entitled to. The effect of the rule is that the FBT is reduced.

    This article examines the “otherwise deductible” rule and its application in various practical situations. In particular, the article analyses the application of the rule in circumstances where part of the travel undertaken by an employee is for private purposes.

  • Insurance-funded business succession Add to cart

    01 Feb 2015

    Succession planning is a critical issue for any jointly owned business, and the unexpected exit of a principal can have adverse ramifications for the business. Appropriate structured insurance funding can be an important step in mitigating these risks. Changes were recently made to the type of total and permanent disablement insurance policies which can be owned through superannuation. Total and permanent disablement policies commonly feature in insurance-funded buy–sell agreements. The purpose of this article is to review the various ways in which these agreements can be structured.

    The article considers how most insurance-funded buy–sell agreements operate, the alternatives available when determining how the insurance policies should be owned, and the taxation consequences of the different ownership approaches.