Published on 01 Mar 15
by "TAXATION IN AUSTRALIA" JOURNAL ARTICLE
Courts have long had power to make binding declarations on questions of law put before them by interested parties, provided applicants are not merely seeking advisory opinions based on purely hypothetical assumptions. This article examines the ability of courts to make declarations relating to discrete questions of law arising in revenue proceedings. The article considers, in particular, the utility of declaratory relief, limitations imposed by the conclusive evidence provisions of taxation laws, the availability of alternative remedies, the use of declaratory relief in GST cases, declarations in relation to future matters and on preliminary questions of law, the practice of the Commissioner of Taxation in seeking declarations, and jurisdiction to grant declaratory relief in anti-avoidance matters. The author concludes that the emerging use of declaratory relief in tax litigation is one of the most important and potentially innovative and effective developments in this area of the law.