Our experienced Tax legal team regularly publishes articles and updates - the full list of publications appears below. Our publications will keep you abreast of today's complex taxations laws and the latest GST developments that could affect your business. If you'd like to be notified when we add new Tax publications to the site, please go to our subscription page to sign up for email alerts or, alternatively, you can subscribe to our RSS feed.

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Tax Publications

  • Focus: High Court 'moves' unanimously in defining the scope of consideration for tax purposes

    22 December 2014

    Those involved in property development arrangements or business acquisitions should be aware of the tax implications of the recent High Court decision in Lend Lease Development that has broadened the scope of what forms the 'consideration' for the transfer of dutiable property. The High Court found that various contribution payments and construction covenants made to a vendor under a development agreement between the parties, and not just the purchase price described in the land sale contracts, would be regarded as consideration that 'moved' the transfers of land. Partner Adrian Chek, Senior Associate Jennee Chan and Associate Jay Prasad consider the reasoning adopted by the High Court and its implications.

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  • Focus: Will deductions by employees for home to work travel fly?

    17 December 2014

    A recent Federal Court decision means 'fly-in fly-out' workers cannot claim tax deductions for the cost of transport to and from work. Given the weight of High Court authority, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Federal Court ruled in the way that it did. However, the interesting question will be whether the taxpayers appeal, and if so, whether the higher courts will use this as an opportunity to reshape the application of a very old principle of law to new and emerging business practices. Partner Sarah Bernhardt and Senior Associate Shaun Cartoon report.

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  • Focus: Exploring the duty implications of farm-in agreements in Queensland

    9 December 2014

    The Queensland Government has introduced into Parliament legislation to provide a stamp duty concession for eligible farm-in agreements relating to exploration authorities and transfers of interests in exploration authorities under such farm-in agreements. Partner Katrina Parkyn and Associate Jay Prasad examine the scope of the concession.

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  • Focus: Can you make a supply merely by tolerating something?

    8 December 2014

    In an important ruling, the High Court has decided that a purchaser of leased premises will make a supply of the leased premises when, after completion, the purchaser observes its express obligations under the lease. The decision provides much-needed certainty for vendors and purchasers of leased property. However, the implications of the reasoning behind the decision could be more far-reaching than originally thought, with the High Court continuing to take an extremely broad view of the core concept underpinning Australia's GST system as to when an entity makes a 'supply'. Partner Katrina Parkyn and Senior Associate Marc Johnston report on the practical aspects of the case.

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  • Unravelled: Taxation of certain unit trusts - 'attribution' model to replace 'present entitlement'

    3 December 2014

    You may be forgiven for having lost track of the proposed reforms to the taxation of managed investment trusts (or MITs) given that this initiative has been 'announced' by successive Federal governments since 2010. Finally though, an exposure draft of new legislation is expected to be released before Christmas that will include a 'third' regime that is intended to provide greater certainty as to the tax transparency (or flow through treatment) of qualifying MITs.

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  • Client Update: Withholding tax on the sale of Australian property by foreign residents

    19 November 2014

    Treasury has released a discussion paper on the proposal to introduce a non-final withholding tax on the disposal of 'taxable Australian property' by foreign residents. Partner Katrina Parkyn looks at some of the key areas of discussion.

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  • Focus: Foreign pension funds to access reduced withholding tax rate

    10 November 2014

    Legislation has been introduced into Federal Parliament to allow foreign pension funds to access the managed investment trust withholding tax regime, with effect from 1 July 2008. Partner Katrina Parkyn and Associate Scott Lang examine the proposed legislation, and its implications for foreign pension funds and the funds in which they invest.

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  • Client Update: Innovation and competitiveness agenda to benefit the resources and energy sectors

    6 November 2014

    The Federal Government has released its Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, the industry-led growth and innovation component of its broader Economic Action Strategy reform. Industry participants in the resources and energy sectors will benefit from proposals which aim to increase competitiveness and drive economic growth in these prioritised sectors. Partner Igor Bogdanich and Lawyer Ellie Mulholland report on the proposals.

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  • Focus: Federal Court rules liquidator needn't account for tax on sale of assets

    21 October 2014

    The Full Federal Court has held that a liquidator has no obligation to retain monies on account of tax until a notice of assessment has been issued. While the decision is a win for taxpayers (and creditors of insolvent entities), it remains to be seen how the Commissioner of Taxation will respond. Partner Katrina Parkyn, Senior Associate Joanne Langford and Associate Jay Prasad report on the decision.

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  • Focus: Unlocking the tax value of greenfield exploration expenditure

    20 October 2014

    Draft legislation has been released that contains details of the Exploration Development Incentive announced as part of the 2014-15 Federal Budget. The scheme is designed to encourage equity investment in greenfield explorers, by enabling explorers to issue 'exploration credits' to its investors. Partner Martin Fry and Senior Associate Jennifer Richards report.

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  • Focus: Back to a future for employee share scheme options

    17 October 2014

    Dust off your old employee option plans, as options look set to make a comeback. In consultations with Treasury earlier this year, we were informed that the Federal Government was considering introducing a special tax regime for 'start-ups' but that there was limited appetite to reverse any of the 2009 tax changes that largely resulted in the death of options for Australian employees. So, it was to our pleasant surprise that, on 14 October 2014, the Government announced that, from 1 July 2015, Australia will be moving back to the global norm of employee options granted by all companies generally being taxed on exercise. Special concessions for start-up companies are also proposed. Partner Sarah Bernhardt and Senior Associate Shaun Cartoon, members of Allens' Head Office & Governance team, report.

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  • Focus: Changes to tax rules for offshore investment

    17 September 2014

    A Bill is currently before Federal Parliament that will more closely (but not completely) align the foreign non-portfolio dividend NANE treatment with debt/equity concepts. Partner Martin Fry and Senior Associate Jennifer Richards report on the changes.

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  • Focus: Australian landholder duty: avoid the pitfalls of an ever expanding duty base

    10 September 2014

    An increased focus on taxing indirect real property transfers has seen the 'land-rich' or 'landholder' duty rules expanded significantly over the years, resulting in far more transactions being liable to duty. One area in which the potential application of the expanded landholder duty rules can be easily overlooked (with potentially disastrous consequences) is transactions undertaken by foreign entities that indirectly (through a chain of entities) have Australian 'land' assets. Partner Katrina Parkyn and Senior Associate Jennee Chan report.

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  • Focus: Lend Lease Development - will the High Court be moved on what 'moves' the transfer?

    8 September 2014

    When it comes to assessing duty on land transfers, identifying what constitutes the consideration for the transfer is a key issue. In Lend Lease Development Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue, the Victorian Court of Appeal decided that certain 'development contributions' made by a purchaser to a vendor did not form part of the consideration that 'moved' the transfer of land to the purchaser. Taxpayers that have relied upon this decision to determine the stamp duty implications of similar arrangements should be aware that case has been appealed to the High Court. Partner Katrina Parkyn, Senior Associate Marc Johnston and Associate Jay Prasad report on the practical aspects of the case and whether it applies more broadly to any arrangement where a taxpayer pays other amounts to a vendor in addition to the price to acquire dutiable property.

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  • Focus: New opportunities for charities as 'directness' requirement ruled out

    4 September 2014

    The Federal Court has recently ruled that there is no requirement for a public benevolent institution to provide direct relief to people in need. Its interpretation of the expression 'public benevolent institution' theoretically has the potential to expand eligibility well beyond traditionally accepted boundaries. At an immediate and practical level, the decision raises the question of how far regulators will accept that the boundaries of indirect provision of relief can be stretched. Special Counsel Glenys Hodges and Associate Scott Lang report on the implications of this significant development in the law of charities.

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  • Focus: Repeal of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax

    3 September 2014

    One year on from its election victory, the Federal Government has fulfilled its commitment to repeal the Commonwealth Minerals Resource Rent Tax and related tax measures, by passing a repeal Bill through the Senate yesterday. The repeal is expected to take effect later this year. Partner Martin Fry and Senior Associate Julian Feiner explain the context and implications.

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  • Focus: ATO rules on Bitcoin - not enough purchase to be money

    28 August 2014

    The Australian Tax Office has released draft rulings stating their view that the digital currency, Bitcoin, is property and not money. Partner Gavin Smith, Associate David Rountree and Associate Tom Tian consider the potential consequences for Australian businesses using Bitcoin.

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  • Client Update: Business as usual after state and territory budgets handed down

    26 June 2014

    All of the states and territories have now delivered their budgets for the coming financial year. Although there are no major changes to state and territory taxes, there are some minor changes in each jurisdiction. Partner Katrina Parkyn and Lawyer Scott Lang report on the notable developments for business and industry.

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  • Focus: Managed investment trusts - the new regime

    25 June 2014

    Exposure draft legislation to implement long-awaited changes to the tax regime for managed investment trusts is expected to be issued shortly, ahead of the regime's recently announced start date of 1 July 2015. Partner Katrina Parkyn recaps some of its expected key features and likely impacts on the funds management industry.

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  • Focus: Tax deductions for mining rights and information

    30 May 2014

    Legislation amending the timing of tax deductions for expenditure incurred on acquiring mining rights and mining information has been introduced into federal Parliament. The new law will remove the immediate tax deduction for the cost incurred by a mining entity in acquiring mining rights or mining information from another mining entity. An immediate deduction can be claimed for the cost of acquiring mining rights or information from government entities or particular exploration entities. Partner Martin Fry explains.

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  • Client Update: Confirmation of FATCA Status of Australian Superannuation Funds

    16 May 2014

    The much anticipated Intergovernmental Agreement between Australia and the United States in relation to the implementation of the FATCA regime has been signed. As expected, the Agreement confirms that Australian superannuation funds and, importantly, their wholly owned investment vehicles, will be treated as 'Non-Reporting Australian Financial Institutions', 'exempt beneficial owners' and 'deemed compliant FFIs', as appropriate, for FATCA purposes. While this is welcomed as a significant win for the Australian superannuation industry, Senior Associate Thomas McAuliffe reports that superannuation trustees cannot ignore the regime altogether given that some residual FATCA obligations will remain.

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  • Focus: Government moves to abolish ACNC

    4 April 2014

    The Federal Government has taken the first step towards achieving its announced intention of abolishing the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and transferring some of its functions to the Australian Taxation Office and the yet-to-be-established National Centre for Excellence. Special Counsel Glenys Hodges and Lawyer Scott Lang report on the latest developments.

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  • Focus: We want our money back! Excess GST refund rules to change

    4 April 2014

    After two years, three rounds of public consultation and one aborted attempt, Federal Parliament looks likely to pass legislation amending the rules governing when the Australian Taxation Office is required to refund 'excess GST' to a taxpayer. Partner Katrina Parkyn, Senior Associate Marc Johnston and Lawyer Scott Lang report on how taxpayers can get their money back and the practical problems they will face attempting to do so.

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  • Focus: Can listed companies continue to claim tax deductions for contributions to employee share trusts?

    21 March 2014

    A recent draft tax ruling may make it more difficult for employers to claim tax deductions for contributions made to employee remuneration trusts. However, the ruling is expected to have limited practical application to listed companies making non-refundable contributions to traditional employee share trusts. Partner Sarah Bernhardt and Senior Associate Shaun Cartoon report.

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  • Focus: Statutory definition of 'Charity' still to commence 1 January 2014

    23 December 2013

    The Federal Government has announced its intention to repeal legislation that introduces a statutory definition of 'charity' for the purposes of Commonwealth legislation. However, a Bill recently introduced to delay the commencement of the legislation failed to pass the Senate before Parliament rose for 2013, so the statutory definition will still commence on 1 January 2014. If and when the Government will be able to achieve its intention to repeal the legislation is currently unknown. Special Counsel Glenys Hodges and Lawyer Scott Lang report on the legislation, and the impact it will have on charities and prospective charities.

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  • Focus: Currency restriction on tax retention notices overturned

    4 December 2013

    The Full Federal Court has overturned a recent decision which stated that Australian Taxation Office notices requiring entities to retain funds owing to non-Australian persons could not operate on amounts of foreign currency. Partner Martin Fry and Lawyer Chris Lum look at the appeal decision and its implications.

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  • Focus: Threshold for successful prosecution of promoter penalty claims lowered

    11 September 2013

    In the first appeal court guidance on the proper construction of the promoter penalty provisions, the Full Federal Court has upheld an appeal by the Commissioner of Taxation regarding their application and, in doing so, lowered the threshold for a successful prosecution of a promoter penalty claim. Partner Tony Kuhn, Senior Associate Jonathan Joseph and Lawyer Sarah Gittus report.

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  • Focus: Garnishee notices limited to Australian currency

    10 September 2013

    A recent Federal Court decision indicates that Australian Taxation Office notices requiring parties to retain funds owing to non-Australian persons do not operate on amounts of foreign currency or, perhaps, on amounts held outside of Australia. This decision is particularly relevant to private equity funds and financial sponsors. Partner Martin Fry and Law Graduate Chris Lum report.

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  • Focus: Tax loss incentive for nationally significant infrastructure projects

    14 August 2013

    After a long period of scoping, consultation and review, concessional treatment for the tax losses of entities undertaking nationally significant infrastructure projects has become law. Under the measure, which was announced in the 2011-12 Federal Budget, eligible losses can be uplifted by the long-term Government bond rate and the loss integrity rules are moderated. Partner Martin Fry and Lawyer Timothy Stokes look at how it will work in practice.

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  • Focus: High Court upholds validity of the MRRT

    13 August 2013

    The High Court has dismissed Fortescue Metals Group's challenge to the constitutional validity of the Commonwealth minerals resource rent tax. Partner Katrina Parkyn and Lawyer Scott Lang discuss the High Court's decision and the implications it has for the interaction between Commonwealth and state taxes generally.

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  • Focus: Jumping the cross-border insolvency queue

    12 August 2013

    A recent Federal Court decision requiring all the Australian assets of an insolvent foreign company be paid to the Australian Taxation Office, rather than being remitted offshore to be distributed in the liquidation, has significant consequences for cross-border insolvency law and the collection of domestic tax debts from insolvent foreign companies. Partner Christopher Prestwich and Lawyer David Harris report.

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  • Focus: Exploration expenditure and the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax

    21 June 2013

    A recent Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision has provided guidance on the scope of exploration expenditure deductions under the petroleum resource rent tax laws. Partner Martin Fry and Law Graduate Chris Lum explain. Includes a pdf, 'Roadmap to the ZZGN decision' that sets out the different categories of expenditure and the treatment of each category under s37 of the PRRT Act.

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  • Focus: 2013 Budget - thin capitalisation: safe harbour limits slimmed

    20 May 2013

    Consistent with its broader policy of protecting the corporate tax base, the Federal Government announced as part of the 2013-2014 Budget that it will strengthen the thin capitalisation rules to prevent multinationals shifting profits out of Australia.  Partner Charles Armitage and Senior Associate Julian Feiner look at the proposals.

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  • Focus: 2013 Budget - changes to foreign resident CGT regime

    17 May 2013

    As part of the 2013 Budget, the Federal Government has announced several important amendments to the foreign resident capital gains tax regime. A key one is the expansion of the scope of taxable Australian real property assets for shareholdings held by foreign residents. Partner Martin Fry and Law Graduate Chris Lum explain.

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  • Focus: 2013 Budget - amendments to deduction for mining rights and information

    16 May 2013

    The Federal Government's proposed amendments to the immediate deduction for the cost of mining rights and information first used in exploration might be viewed as a disproportionate response to its concern that the section is being applied inappropriately in certain instances. Partner Martin Fry and Lawyer Claire Nicholson explain.

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  • Focus: Capital gains tax and foreign partnerships

    10 May 2013

    The recent Resource Capital Fund decision has provided valuable insights into the application of the capital gains tax rules to foreign investors generally, and entities treated as fiscally transparent under the US tax laws in particular. Partner Martin Fry and Law Graduate Chris Lum explain.

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  • Focus: No privilege for tax accountants

    21 February 2013

    A recent UK Supreme Court judgment has confirmed that the common law right to claim legal privilege over legal advice attaches solely to advice provided by legal professionals, and can only be extended to other professionals by legislative enactment. Partner Duncan Travis, Senior Associate Joel Phibbs and Lawyer Sheree Rubinstein report on the judgment and the position in Australia.

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  • Focus: Important changes to transfer pricing laws

    15 February 2013

    The Federal Government has introduced legislation into Parliament that involves a substantial re-write of Australia's transfer pricing laws. Partner Toby Knight explains the proposed amendments that will permit, in certain circumstances, the actual cross-border transaction entered into by the taxpayer to be ignored, with tax being imposed instead on a different, hypothetical arrangement.

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  • Focus: Changes to the general anti-avoidance rules

    14 February 2013

    In response to recent Full Federal Court decisions, the Federal Government has introduced legislation to amend the general anti avoidance rules (Part IVA) in the Tax Act. Partner Martin Fry and Lawyer Claire Nicholson explain the proposed amendments that will modify the way in which the 'tax benefit' test is applied and the way in which it interacts with the operative provision of Part IVA.

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  • Focus: Not-for-profit reform - new regulator and update on the agenda

    20 November 2012

    Legislation to establish a national regulator to oversee not-for-profit entities in Australia has been passed by both Houses of Parliament. Special Counsel Glenys Hodges reports on the new regulator, and provides an update on the progress of other aspects of the Commonwealth Government's not-for-profit reform agenda.

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  • Focus: Safe from the Tax Office?

    22 October 2012

    A recent Federal Court case serves as a warning that mortgagees should take into account any garnishee notice issued in relation to a mortgagor's tax debt before agreeing to release a mortgage to facilitate a sale by the mortgagor. Partner John Gallimore and Law Graduate Andrew Shetliffe report.

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  • Focus: New international tax convention widens reciprocal enforcement

    17 October 2012

    The Commissioner of Taxation's authority to recover tax claims from foreign jurisdictions and to pursue tax claims in Australia on behalf of foreign states will soon cover a much larger number of foreign jurisdictions. Partner Larry Magid, Lawyer Claire Nicholson and Vacation Clerk Jonathon Hoe look at the implications of the Federal Government's ratification of the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

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  • Focus: Draft Tax determinations highlight tax obligations of agents and trustees

    8 October 2012

    Two long-awaited draft Tax Determinations released by the Australian Taxation Office highlight the obligations of insolvency practitioners, and others who act as an agent or trustee, to retain sufficient money to pay tax which is, or will become, payable on any income, profits or gains arising from their appointment. Partners Charles Armitage and Michael Quinlan and Senior Associate Joanne Langford report

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  • Focus: Exploration deductions under s40-80

    16 August 2012

    The recent Full Federal Court decision in Mitsui v Commissioner of Taxation highlights the importance of identifying the particular asset acquired when seeking to obtain an upfront deduction for exploration expenditure under section 40-80 of the Tax Act. Partner Martin Fry and Lawyer Jennifer Richards report.

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  • Focus: High bar to restraining collection of tax

    16 July 2012

    A recent Supreme Court of New South Wales decision, dismissing an application to restrain the Office of State Revenue from recovering assessed taxes while the time to challenge the assessments was still running, confirms the courts' reluctance to interfere with the recovery of taxes. Partner Michael Quinlan and Lawyer Yu Zhang report

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  • Focus: Important changes to Victorian land-rich duty rules

    14 June 2012

    Victoria's land-rich duty regime will, from 1 July 2012, be replaced by new landholder duty rules that will apply to a much larger range of transactions than the existing land-rich provisions. Partner Katrina Parkyn and Lawyer Jennifer Richards report

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  • Focus: Keeping the tax man at bay: winding up application adjourned for tax appeal

    29 May 2012

    A recent Federal Court decision granting an adjournment of a winding up application may indicate an increasing willingness by the courts to take into account the impact of a tax appeal on the ultimate financial viability of a company, even if it is insolvent. Partner Michael Quinlan and Law Graduate Arlou Arteta report

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  • Client Update: Changes to duty on exploration permits in Queensland

    17 January 2012

    The Queensland Government has announced stamp duty changes that have the potential to impact significantly on any transactions that directly or indirectly deal with exploration permits or authorities to prospect. Partner Katrina Parkyn reports on the changes, which reverse the previous rules whereby these transfers were not dutiable

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  • Focus: Carbon price scheme becomes law - what to do next

    11 November 2011

    The Federal Parliament has passed legislation to establish an Australian carbon pricing scheme, which will operate initially like a carbon tax, with a fixed (but increasing) carbon permit price, and will then transition into a cap and trade scheme after three years. Partner Grant Anderson and Lawyer Fergus Green report on this historic development

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  • Focus: Limiting the Tax Office's reach

    30 September 2011

    A recent Federal Court decision highlights potential limitations on the Commissioner of Taxation's ability to make a determination under Part IVA. Tax Partner Charles Armitage, Litigation Partner Malcolm Stephens and Tax Senior Associate Joanne Langford report

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