The Gatekeeper Court: For the Revenue or the Taxpayer?

Rachel Davies, Miranda Stewart

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Federal Court's Contribution to Australian Law: Past, Present and Future
    Editors Pauline Ridge and James Stellios
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    PublisherThe Federation Press
    Edition1st Edition
    ISBN (Print)9781760021900
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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