On 28 March 2012, the ATO issued for public comment by 11 May 2012 draft Taxation Ruling TR 2012/D1 entitled "Income tax: meaning of 'income of the trust estate' in Division 6 of Part III of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and related provisions".
The draft Ruling states that there "is no set or static meaning of the expression 'income of the trust estate' as used in Division 6. The meaning in the case of a particular trust will depend principally on the terms of that trust and the general law of trusts...The statutory context in which the expression is used may also influence its meaning. In the context of Division 6 the 'income' must be:
- measured in respect of distinct years of income,
- a product "of the trust estate", and
- an amount in respect of which a beneficiary can be made presently entitled.
The draft Ruling also deals with the effect of "income equalisation clauses".