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Declaratory relief in revenue matters

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.

Author profile

Jennifer Batrouney AM QC
Jennifer is a silk at the Victorian Bar practising in taxation, commercial, administrative, equity, superannuation and charity law. She was appointed a QC in 2000. She is sought after for her clear and concise advice to taxpayers on State tax matters throughout Australia. She sits on the Supreme Court of Victoria Tax List Users Group and regularly appears in State tax litigation cases. Jennifer is a past President of the Australian Bar Association, the Victorian Bar, the Tax Bar Association and Australian Women Lawyers. She has been a member of the Law Council Tax Committee since 1991 and a member of the ATO Public Advice and Guidance Panel since 2016. She was elected to the Victorian Legal Services Board in 2018 and sits on the Victorian Legal Admissions Board committee. She Chairs the Law Council of Australia Charity Law Committee and is a director of the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand. She sits on the Melbourne Law School Advisory Council and Tax Masters Advisory Board. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Melbourne Law School teaching tax and charity law in the Melbourne Law Masters. Jennifer was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2020 for significant service to the law, the legal profession and women lawyers. - Current at 09 March 2021
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