Case N71

KP Brady Ch

LC Voumard M
JE Stewart M

No. 2 Board of Review

Judgment date: 8 September 1981.

K.P. Brady (Chairman); L.C. Voumard and J.E. Stewart (Members)

This is a reference requested by a primary school teacher arising out of the disallowance of a claim to deduct from her assessable income of the year ended 30th June, 1978, her expenditure in respect of a study tour of Vietnam. At all relevant times the taxpayer was a Vice-Principal (since re-styled ``Deputy Principal'') in the employ of the (State) Education Department. She appears to have been keenly interested in learning about the historical, social and cultural backgrounds of pupils of foreign origin who attended local schools - a number of Vietnamese children were enrolled at the school to which she transferred after she returned from the tour - and when the opportunity arose to visit Vietnam as a member of a group on what was called ``Australian Vietnam Educational Seminar'', she decided to make the trip.

2. The group left Australia on 20th August, 1977, and returned on 5th September, 1977. They were in Vietnam between 22nd August and 3rd September, during which period they visited several areas regarded as social and historical landmarks, and spent some time sightseeing. The trip seems to have been designed to give participants some knowledge of Vietnamese backgrounds.

3. In her return of income for the year ended 30th June, 1978, the taxpayer claimed a deduction under sec. 51(1) of the Income Tax Assessment Act of the costs of the trip, $1,641. Beyond describing the trip as covering a series of ``professional visits to social, medical and educational institutions'', the return gave no details of the makeup of the cost.

4. The evidence disclosed a keen interest on the part of the taxpayer in students with foreign backgrounds, but it did not go any further. In particular, it did not indicate any basis upon which it could be said that the cost of the trip was (a) an outgoing incurred, in terms of sec. 51(1) of the Income Tax Assessment Act, ``in gaining or producing'' (as that expression has been judicially interpreted) the taxpayer's salary as a Vice-Principal, and was not (b) an outgoing of a private character. On the evidence, the visit to Vietnam had no direct effect, one way or the other, upon the taxpayer's income, or upon her promotion prospects. Nor was the

ATC 383

taxpayer obliged, pursuant to a term express or implied in her contract of employment, to travel to Vietnam. In short, we cannot see any ground upon which the taxpayer's claim could succeed.

5. A large number of cases could be cited in support of this conclusion, but we do not see that any advantage is to be gained by doing so. It is sufficient to refer to a recent decision of this Board (Case N74,
81 ATC 389) where the principles involved in claims of this nature were discussed. It is for the same reasons that the claim dealt with in that reference failed that this present claim should likewise fail. We would uphold the Commissioner's decision on the objection and confirm the assessment.

Claim disallowed

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