Source: Taxation In Australia Journal Article
Published Date: 1 Oct 2014
The private ruling system is intended to provide certainty for taxpayers about the taxation outcomes of their transactions. It appears, however, that that hoped-for certainty can be elusive, especially where the Commissioner fails to make a ruling when requested to do so. The recent decision of a Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia in IOOF Holdings Ltd v FCT, a case about the consolidation provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, is an example in which a taxpayer, through no fault of its own, has been thwarted by the private ruling system in circumstances where the Commissioner failed (rather than declined) to make a ruling.
This article examines the decisions in the case at each level. The author concludes that the taxpayer might justifiably question why a ruling was not issued within the ATO’s self-imposed 28-day service standard. Had that occurred, the controversy would not have arisen.
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