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Elections: Outlays by candidates, and gifts and donations for candidates


Many practitioners are about to wrestle, perhaps for the first time, with the deductibility of outlays incurred in relation to elections, whether as gifts or donations for candidates, whether by candidates themselves and whether in relation to federal, state or municipal elections. In the first part of the article, the author examines the tax treatment of donations or gifts made for, by or on behalf of candidates in the May 2019 federal election. The relevant tax provisions were last amended in 2010. In the second part of the article, the author considers the deductibility of outlays made by candidates themselves and the consequences of a recoupment. The article does not consider outlays in relation to elections conducted for internal positions within political parties  or for elections conducted by trade unions or similar bodies.

Author profile

Christopher Wallis CTA
Chris commenced practice as a Barrister in 1991 and 27 years later has a strong no nonsense reputation throughout Australia in the fields of equity and revenue law. Chris’ focus is on keeping clients out of the AAT and Court using attention to detail and negotiation to secure certainty for clients at the earliest opportunity, a focus which has involved him in numerous in-house facilitation sessions. Chris is a regularly published author and a member of the Editorial Board of the Australian Tax Law Bulletin and also of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association (ATTA). Chris presents regularly throughout Australia for the professional bodies and ATTA and has completed studies in international tax at the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law at Wirtschafts Universitat in Vienna and the IBFD in Amsterdam. Two of Chris' recently published articles have addressed issues arising under the ATO's in-house facilitation process. Subsequent changes to the process reflected observations in the articles. - Current at 08 October 2019
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