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  • Trusts



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    Trust chapter


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    Taxation Statistics - whole document


    This chapter provides information on trusts as reported on their trust income tax returns. A trust exists where a person, the 'trustee', is under an obligation to hold property or income for the benefit of other people, known as 'beneficiaries'. This obligation usually arises under the express terms of a trust, but may also be imposed by court order or declaration, or by the operation of law. Although the trustees hold the legal title to the property, they must deal with it in accordance with the terms of the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

    Beneficiaries can include public and charitable institutions, and the potential beneficiaries of a discretionary trust can include people not yet born.

    A trust is not a separate taxable entity and a trust does not pay tax in its own right. (Note that certain public unit trusts are taxed as companies.) In general terms, it is the beneficiaries who are subject to tax on their share of the net income of the trust. The trustee is generally taxed on the proportion of the net income of the trust that is accumulated in the trust or that relates to certain kinds of beneficiaries (such as non-residents and those beneficiaries who are under a legal disability) - ie the trustee is taxed on that part of the net income of the trust for tax purposes that is not assessable to a beneficiary. The net income of the trust is generally assessable to the trustee or the beneficiaries in the income year in which it is derived by the trust.

    An annual tax return must be lodged for a trust, regardless of the amount of income derived by the trust, and even if the trust derives nil income or incurs a loss for tax purposes.


    For the 2005-06 income year:

    • 569,593 trusts lodged returns, a 6.8% increase from 2004-05
    • the largest proportion of trusts where industry was stated were in the rental, hiring and real estate services industry at 18.1%
    • trusts reported total business income of $246.3 billion, a 14.3% increase from 2004-05, and
    • total trust business expenses were $224.3 billion, an 11.6% increase from 2004-05.
      Last modified: 18 Mar 2008QC 20124