The Gatekeeper Court: For the Revenue or for the Taxpayer?
30 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2019
Date Written: July 4, 2019
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: Suggested Citation