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Goodwill and taxation issues


This article is based on a paper given at the Taxation Institute’s annual Tax Intensive Retreat in August 2007. It considers the legal meaning of goodwill and thereafter identifies sources of goodwill such as licences, marks, and designs. The discussion of assets as sources of goodwill leads to a discussion of Div 40 and subsequently to the application of CGT to goodwill. There is detailed discussion of a number of cases on goodwill (especially Murry) including the sometimes fictional attempts made at goodwill licensing (such as in the Just Jeans case). The final part of the article considers goodwill and comparative aspects of CGT’s application to know-how and show-how.

Author profile

Prof Michael Walpole CTA
Prof Michael Walpole is a Professor of Taxation Law in the School of Accounting, Auditing and Taxation (including Atax) at UNSW Business School. Prior to academic life, Michael was variously a Tax Consultant with Ernst & Young, and was in private practice as a legal practitioner. Michael has authored and co-authored several books, including Proposals for the Reform of the Taxation of Goodwill, Understanding Taxation Law, and Compliance Cost Control. Michael has also written and presented many papers on his research topics to practitioner and academic audiences in Australia and overseas. He is the editor of the Australian Tax Forum and is an International Research Fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Business Tax in the Said Business School, University of Oxford. He has been a visiting Professor at the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration and remains involved in its work on GST/VAT. - Current at 21 December 2020
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