Composite provisions

FCT v Hacon Pty Ltd [2017] FCAFC 181

This case confirms that the ATO can decline to make a private ruling where it ‘would depend on which assumptions were made about a future event’11.  One argument rejected (at [21-27]), however, was that provisions about making private rulings and applying for them should ‘be read as a composite’12.

To read the former into the latter could erode the duty to consider the substance of an application13.  More generally, statutes are to be read as a whole in context, rather than as provisions in isolation14.  That does not mean, however, absent formal linkage or incorporation, that separate provisions are to be treated as some kind of singular composite.

This case is from Episode 31 of interpretationNOW!


11  s 357-10(1) of S1 to TAA53, cf White [2012] FCA 109 (at [32-41]).

12  ss 359-5 and 359-10, respectively.

13  cf Nicovations [2016] FCA 394.

14  Pearce & Geddes (at [4.2]), Scaffidi [2017] WASCA 222 (at [130]).