The ATO has welcomed the decision of the High Court to basically uphold the decision of the Full Federal Court in a case which the ATO won, in relation to foreign income tax offsets (‘FITO’).
An Australian tax resident had sold some US investments and paid US tax on the gains.
The taxpayer was then basically taxed on half of those gains in his assessable Australian income (i.e., the gains were eligible for the CGT discount in Australia).
The taxpayer included the whole of the US tax paid in his FITO to offset against his Australian income tax. However, when determining the FITO available, the ATO only allowed the proportion of the US tax paid that related to the capital gain included in his Australian assessable income.
The Full Federal Court affirmed the ATO’s position.
“This decision reminds taxpayers that they can only claim the foreign income tax offset to the extent that the capital gain is assessable in Australia, rather than the full amount assessed in a foreign jurisdiction,” Deputy Commissioner Tim Dyce said.
“We believe that others may have similarly incorrectly claimed the foreign income tax offset. Now is the time to review any claim and make any necessary voluntary amendments as we intend to commence compliance activity on this issue in the near future.”
The Full Federal Court decision can be read in full on the Federal Court of Australia website.
Taxpayers that identify a discrepancy with their FITO claims can make a voluntary disclosure or consult with us for advice.