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Looking a gift horse in the mouth: The one-off opportunity for backdating Family Trust Elections


The announcement by the Commissioner of Taxation in April 2004 that entities which had acted as family entities in prior years could lodge back-dated Family Trust Elections and Interposed Entity Elections is seen as a welcomed concession to taxpayers.

This paper reviews the lead up to the Commissioner’s announcement including claims by the professional accounting and taxation bodies of widespread non-compliance in regard to the elections mostly due to the inherent complexity and prolonged development of the trust loss rules.

Although the announcement provides taxpayers some time to make informed decisions in regard to the elections, the paper asks if we should be wary of the gift horse’s teeth. Is the announcement a reflection of the new co-operative approach by the Australian Taxation Office to tax administration or a precursor to their increased focus on trusts especially in small and medium businesses? It remains to be seen if the gift horse will come back to bite us.

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Rosemary Everett CTA
Rosemary is a Principal with Martin Goodrich & Associates. - Current at 09 March 2009
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