Miscellaneous 2011

Risk as a measure in taxing financial arrangements

Source: Australian Tax Forum Journal Article

Published Date: 1 Dec 2011


Recent reform of the Australian laws for taxing financial instruments are expressed in terms of risk for the purpose of identifying the relevant taxpayer or characterising a financial arrangement, rather than using the traditional drafting terms of legal ownership by a taxpayer or legal form of the financial arrangements. Generally, this change in the way that the laws are expressed is for either efficiency reasons, as in the case of Div. 250, or for integrity reasons, as in the case of the debt/equity rules and the TOFA rules.

This paper reviews several of the changes to the way that the Australian legislation for taxing financial instruments is drafted where, previously, legal concepts for identifying the taxpayer were used and legal form was used for characterising a financial instrument, to the use of risk for both those purposes. It argues that risk is a better measure of who the taxpayer is and what the financial instrument is because that is consistent with the way that commerce operates.

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Miscellaneous 2011

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