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The potential of s100A ITAA36 to address tax avoidance using trusts
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The potential of s100A ITAA36 to address tax avoidance using trusts

On 17 August 2023, Sonali Walpola, Senior Lecturer in the College of Business and Economics at the Australian National University, presented a hybrid seminar on the potential of s100A ITAA36 to address tax avoidance using trusts and why the Full Federal Court’s approach in Guardian should be treated with caution.Seminar abstractSection 100A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA36), enacted in 1979, is an important integrity measure in the trusts arena.The provision applies where a beneficiary is made presently entitled to trust income where the economic benefits relating to the present entitlement are enjoyed by another party. Currently, Section 100A ITAA36 is in the spotlight. The Commissioner relied on s100A in two cases which were the subject of Federal Court appeals in 2023—Commissioner of Taxation v Guardian AIT Pty Ltd [2023] FCAFC 3 (Guardian), where the Commissioner was unsuccessful (at least on s100A) and the ‘BBlood’ litigation (B&F Investments (as trustee for the Illuka Park Trust) v Commissioner of Taxation [2023] FCAFC 89), where the Commissioner was successful. It is centrally argued that the Full Court’s approach to s100A in Guardian is overly narrow, and the decision should be treated with caution due to its failure to consider the most authoritative and salient s100A precedents. While the general anti-avoidance rule in Part IVA ITAA36 was successfully used in Guardian, prior case law shows that s100A is the more robust anti-avoidance mechanism in the trusts arena because it is not hindered by problems that have beset Part IVA, including establishing a dominant tax avoidant purpose. This paper highlights that a broad, non-technical approach to s100A was authoritatively laid down in the only High Court decision on s100A, Raftland Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation [2008] HCA 21 (Raftland), but extraordinarily, the Full Court in Guardian does not once discuss or cite Raftland.