Decision Impact Statement
Roy Morgan Research Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation & Anor
 HCA 35
2011 ATC 20-282
Venue: High Court of Australia
Venue Reference No: M177 of 2010
Judge Name: Full Court of the High Court
Judgment date: 28 September 2011
Appeals on foot:
Administrative Treatment (Implication on current Public Rulings and Determinations)
Constitutional law (Cth)
Superannuation guarantee charge
Whether imposed for 'public purposes'
'private and direct benefit'
Outlines the ATO's response to the case about whether superannuation guarantee charge ("SGC"), is a tax supported by s 51(ii) of the Commonwealth Constitution.
Brief Summary of Facts
The taxpayer appealed to the High Court against the decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court which had upheld the constitutional validity of the Superannuation Guarantee Charge Act 1992 ("the Charge Act") and the Superannuation Guarantee ( Administration ) Act 1992 ("the Administration Act") .
Issues decided by the Court
The appeal to the High Court concerned the power of the Parliament to make laws with respect to taxation under s 51(ii) of the Constitution. The taxpayer challenged the validity of the provisions in the Charge Act and the Administration Act dealing with the SGC. The taxpayer argued that the SGC was not a "tax" because it was not imposed for "public purposes". This was said to be because the SGC conferred "a private and direct benefit" on the relevant employees. It followed, the taxpayer argued, that neither the Charge Act nor the Administration Act was a law with respect to taxation within the meaning of s 51(ii), and that the legislation establishing the SGC and providing for its administration was invalid.
The High Court held unanimously that the SGC was a tax, and that the taxpayer's constitutional challenge to the Administration Act and the Charge Act failed. The receipt of the proceeds of the SGC into the Consolidated Revenue Fund ("CRF") established that the SGC was imposed for "public purposes". The Court held that where other necessary constitutional criteria of a tax are met, as they were in this case, the receipt of funds into the CRF conclusively established the character of the SGC as a valid tax.
ATO view of Decision
The High Court's decision accords with the ATO view.
Implications for ATO precedential documents
Implications for Law Administration Practice Statements
We invite you to advise us if you feel this decision has consequences we have not identified, or if a precedential decision such as a Public Ruling or an ATO ID requires reconsideration or amendment. Please forward your comments to the contact officer by the due date.
| Date Issued:
||1 November 2011
| Due Date:
||27 December 2011
| Contact officer:
| Email address:
||02 6216 2691
|| 02 6216 1959
||Narellan St, Canberra, ACT, 2600
Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992
Superannuation Guarantee Charge Act 1992
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