CAUTION: This Case Decision Summary should not be relied upon in deciding whether to enter into any particular arrangement or transaction (referred to as a 'scheme' in Part IVA Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 for the reasons which follow. It is recommended that should you wish to enter into a scheme similar to that summarised you seek further advice or a ruling from the ATO, or advice from a professional adviser.

This Case Decision Summary illustrates the approach taken by the Commissioner of Taxation in applying Part IVA to a real fact situation. The facts have been simplified to focus on key practical issues.

To properly apply Part IVA, the law must be applied to all the relevant facts. In particular, an eight step test must be applied to determine whether, on the facts, a particular scheme objectively has the dominant purpose of obtaining a tax benefit not intended by the law. Where the scheme simply takes advantage of the intended operation of a structural feature of the law, Part IVA will not apply because the required dominant purpose will not exist.

In applying the dominant purpose test, regard must be had to the manner in which the scheme is carried out; that is, whether the scheme bears the stamp of tax avoidance. The Full Federal Court in Bellinz Pty Limited v Federal Commissioner of Taxation 98 ATC 4634 at 4647; 39 ATR 198 at 212 has noted the difficulty in applying Part IVA prior to the scheme being carried out, because the execution of the scheme may in fact be different to that originally proposed. Even where the scheme has been carried out, the Court has noted that a difficulty in coming to a view on the application of Part IVA is to ensure that all relevant facts are considered, including those concerning the manner in which the scheme is carried out.

This Case Decision Summary has been withdrawn.

ATO Case Decision

Case Decision Number:



Does Part IVA (Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA 1936)) apply when a business elects under section 70-45 (Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997)) to value closing stock at market selling value?




The business makes the election in the year before tax rates are due to increase.

Reasons for Decision:

The making of an election under section 70-45 (ITAA 1997) is a structural feature of the Act and of itself is not within Part IVA (ITAA 1936). Subsection 177C(2) (ITAA 1936) expressly excludes from the definition of ‘tax benefit’, the non inclusion of assessable income or the increase in allowable deductions as a result of the making of an election or declaration expressly provided for under the ITAA 1936 or ITAA 1997.

It is only if the scheme is designed to create a set of circumstances to enable the election to be made, that it may amount to a tax benefit

Legislative References:

Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 Part IVA, subsection 177C(2)

Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 section 70-45


Closing stock

Goods, equipment, plant & trading stock

Market selling price method

Part IVA

Tax avoidance

Tax planning

Tax planning, avoidance & evasion

Taxpayer elections

Trading stock

Trading stock valuation

Trading stock valuation methods

FOI Number: