Trusts gains of foreign residents

In summary A recent Federal Court decision has put a major stumbling block in the path of non-resident beneficiaries of Australian discretionary trusts. The ongoing use of discretionary trusts for asset protection, flexibility and succession planning is now in jeopardy because of the unnecessary tax cost they create. In detail  It has long been a … Read more


Summary Trustees often seek to limit their liability in the form of exoneration clauses in trust deeds. As such,  it is generally difficult for a beneficiary to challenge a trustee’s decision that falls within the scope of the exoneration clause. In Sofer v SwissIndependent Trustees SA [2019] EWHC 2071 (Ch), the England and Wales High … Read more

Australian Taxation Office targets investors seeking to adopt capital gains tax treatment on sale of shares

The recent Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal (“AAT“) decision in Ransley v Commissioner of Taxation [2018] AATA 4359 has shown the willingness of the Australian Taxation Office (“ATO“) to target investors seeking to adopt capital gains tax treatment on the sale of shares. The AAT also upheld the 50% penalty applied by the ATO. Please click here to read a … Read more


The Australian revenue authorities have been very active recently issuing judgments, making pronouncements and intensifying enforcement activity, all directed to the way the tax system operates in relation to income made from, and gains arising on transactions with, assets that are held on trust. Please click here for some highlights of the effects of some of the … Read more

Circular trust resolutions – family trusts to be taxed at 47% by Australian Government

Following on from the Australian Government’s announcement in the 2018-19 Budget, an Exposure Draft entitled Treasury Laws Amendment (Measures for a Later Sitting) Bill 2018 has been released which proposes to impose trustee beneficiary non-disclosure tax (currently, 47%) on the untaxed part of a circular trust distribution to which the trustee of a family trust … Read more

Australian tax law bites trust law on franking credits

The High Court of Australia has restored sanity in a long running saga in which a trustee purported to separate franking credits from the underlying dividends in allocations to beneficiaries. The Court held (as the parties now accepted) that this was not possible and that a contrary decision of the Supreme Court of Queensland in … Read more

The Australian Tax Office broadens its targeting of private groups

Having focused on the top 320 privately owned and wealthy groups (“Private Groups“) earlier this year, the Australian Tax Office (“ATO“) Tax Avoidance Taskforce team is about to take its next step and review the next 1,200 largest Private Groups. We set out further details below. Read more