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Declaratory relief in revenue matters


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 QC CTA
Jennifer Batrouney, QC, CTA, 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 President of the Australian Bar Association and Immediate Past President of the Victorian Bar and of the Tax Bar Association. 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 the President of Australian Women Lawyers in 2003-2004 and was awarded the Law Institute of Victoria’s “Mentor of the Year” in 2014. - Current at 12 February 2019
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