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On 5 June 2014 the ATO released a Decision Impact Statement on the decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Re Dominic B Fishing Pty Ltd and FCT [2014] AATA 205.

The case concerned whether fishermen working on dories in a sharefishing arrangement with the owner of the main vessel were employees for the purposes of the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 (Cth). The Tribunal determined that the crew members fishing on dories were not employees, either according to the ordinary meaning of employee or under the extended definition contained in s 12(3) of the SGAA.

In the ATO’s view, the Tribunal’s view that the case is limited to its own facts and does not provide any authoritative guidance on cases concerning whether a worker is an employee for the purposes of the SGAA is consistent with the Commissioner’s position.

In relation to the Tribunal’s finding that the fishermen were in a joint venture with the taxpayer, the Commissioner did not have an opportunity to make submissions to the Tribunal about this issue in this case. The Commissioner will seek to make full submissions on this point in similar cases that arise in the future, with a view to further clarifying the issue of when a fisherman or fishermen is or is not in a joint venture with a boat owner.


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