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Dividing matrimonial property between spouses, the ATO and other creditors paper


The Family Court has recently been given the power to deal directly with the rights of creditors of spouses. This includes a trustee in bankruptcy. This is as part of determining property orders and dividing matrimonial assets between spouses.

This paper considers the new laws especially in the context of the tax debts and actual or impending bankruptcy of one or more spouses. It also examines the powers of the Commissioner of Taxation to protect the revenue, eg. by intervening in Family Court matters.

Topics covered include:

  • what are the changes?
  • why, when and how are the spouse's creditors invited or required to attend the Family Court?
  • when can you use the new laws to your client's advantage?
  • what can the ATO do in the Family Court to secure or get unpaid tax? What can your client do about it?
  • have the recent changes limited current asset protection strategies eg. binding financial agreements? Are other strategies now more advantageous eg. superannuation?

Author profile

Arlene Macdonald CTA-Life
Photo of author, Arlene MACDONALD Until her recent retirement, Arlene was a Barrister at the South Australian Bar for 17 years. Prior to this she spent 8 years at the Australian Government Solicitor's Office, and several years at the ATO and the Commonwealth Ombudsman's office. At the Bar she appeared and advised in a wide range of Commonwealth and State tax disputes concerning income tax, CGT, GST, stamp duty, payroll tax, land tax and other tax issues. Arlene is experienced in acting for the Commissioner of Taxation and for the range of taxpayers who were in dispute with the revenue authorities or who needed advice on how tax law applies in their case. She has a passion for legal education, especially in tax and trust law. She was awarded life membership of The Tax Institute in 2010 particularly for her work over many years in organising, promoting and providing education through The Tax Institute. She has written a vast number of papers and articles and is a highly sought after speaker. - Current at 16 February 2015
Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Arlene MACDONALD.


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