Miscellaneous 2007

Tax Cases: Do sell-back rights form part of a taxpayer's income according to ordinary concepts?

Source: Taxation In Australia Journal Article

Published Date: 1 May 2007

On 27 February 2007 the High Court handed down the final decision in the case of Commissioner of Taxation v McNeil (“McNeil”) which considered the character of sell-back rights in the hands of the taxpayer in relation to her shareholding in St.George Bank Limited (“St.George”). The High Court held, overturning the decisions of both the Federal Court and Full Federal Court, that the sell-back rights that were held for the absolute benefit of the taxpayer constituted income derived by her and, therefore, that amount should be included as part of the taxpayer’s assessable income. Although the decision in McNeil only resulted in a small tax liability for the taxpayer in question, the decision also affected all of the other shareholders of St.George who were offered sell-back rights. More generally, the decision is likely to have an effect on other public companies seeking to issue sell-back rights to their shareholders as a way of capital reduction.

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Miscellaneous 2007

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