The Gatekeeper Court: For the Revenue or for the Taxpayer?

30 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2019

See all articles by Rachel Davies

Rachel Davies

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Law School

Miranda Stewart

University of Melbourne - Law School; Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Date Written: July 4, 2019

Abstract

Since its establishment, the Federal Court of Australia (“the Court”) has become the leading tax court in the nation. The Federal Court is the final port of call for most taxpayers and for the Federal Commissioner of Taxation. In the spirit of inquiry into the nature of “income” for tax purposes, this paper does both a “wide survey and an exact scrutiny” of aspects of the Court’s record in taxation matters over the last 40 years. The paper presents statistics about tax cases in the Court since its establishment in 1977 and discusses trends. We then turn to discuss important themes in tax cases before the Court, including the boundaries of ordinary income and allowable deductions; the complexity of the tax statute and of the task of statutory interpretation; and the approach of the Court to tax avoidance. Finally, the paper considers some features of tax litigation in the Court and challenges for the future.

Keywords: taxation law, Federal Court of Australia, statutory interpretation, dispute resolution, judicial review

JEL Classification: K34

Suggested Citation

Davies, Rachel and Stewart, Miranda, The Gatekeeper Court: For the Revenue or for the Taxpayer? (July 4, 2019). U of Melbourne Legal Studies Research Paper No. 828 (2019), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3414811 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3414811

Rachel Davies

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Law School ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Melbourne, VIC 3010
Australia

Miranda Stewart (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 6544 (Phone)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, ACT 0200
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://crawford.anu.edu.au/people/academic/miranda-stewart

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