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Oh, for the want of a ruling

Published on 01 Oct 14 by "TAXATION IN AUSTRALIA" JOURNAL ARTICLE

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.

Author profile:

Mark Mathews CTA
Mark is a Solicitor in Tax Policy and Controvery for Ernst & Young. Current at 07 October 2014 Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Mark Mathews.
 
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