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ATO Interpretative Decision

ATO ID 2002/647 (Withdrawn)

Income Tax
Assessability of a payment of unused 'special leave' received upon retirement

Attention This ATO ID is to be withdrawn. The views expressed in the ATO ID are current and offer a straight application of the law. Additional guidance is available in Lump sum payments (QC 31914).
Attention This document has changed over time. View its history.
FOI status: may be released
Status of this decision: Decision withdrawn 1 September 2017.

CautionCAUTION: This is an edited and summarised record of a Tax Office decision. This record is not published as a form of advice. It is being made available for your inspection to meet FOI requirements, because it may be used by an officer in making another decision.

This ATOID provides you with the following level of protection:

If you reasonably apply this decision in good faith to your own circumstances (which are not materially different from those described in the decision), and the decision is later found to be incorrect you will not be liable to pay any penalty or interest. However, you will be required to pay any underpaid tax (or repay any over-claimed credit, grant or benefit), provided the time limits under the law allow it. If you do intend to apply this decision to your own circumstances, you will need to ensure that the relevant provisions referred to in the decision have not been amended or repealed. You may wish to obtain further advice from the Tax Office or from a professional adviser.


Is the taxpayer assessable under section 83-10 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) on a lump sum payment of unused 'special leave' paid by their employer upon retirement?


Yes. The taxpayer is assessable under section 83-10 of the ITAA 1997 on a lump sum payment of unused 'special leave' paid by their employer upon retirement.


The taxpayer retired from their employment.

The taxpayer received a lump sum payment from their employer which included an amount for unused 'special leave'.

Under the terms of their employment the taxpayer was entitled to annual leave.

In addition to this however, the taxpayer was given an additional amount of leave called 'special leave'.

The 'special leave' was given by the employer in recognition of the particular demands and rigours of the taxpayer's duties and their impact on the taxpayer and their family. It was intended as additional leave for rest and recreation which was justified by the demands of a particular period of employment.

Reasons for Decision

Section 6-10 of the ITAA 1997 provides that a taxpayer's assessable income includes statutory income amounts that are not ordinary income but are included in assessable income by another provision.

Section 10-5 of the ITAA 1997 lists those provisions about assessable income. Included in this list is section 83-10 of the ITAA 1997 which deals with lump sum payments received on retirement or termination of employment in lieu of annual leave.

The lump sum payment is included in the taxpayer's assessable income (subsection 83-10(2) of the ITAA 1997).

Subsection 83-10(3) of the ITAA 1997 provides that a payment a taxpayer receives in consequence of termination of their employment is an 'unused annual leave payment' if it is:

 for annual leave the taxpayer has not used;
 a bonus or other additional payment for annual leave the taxpayer has not used; or
 for annual leave, or bonus or other additional payment for annual leave, to which the taxpayer was not entitled just before their employment termination, but that would have been made available to the taxpayer at a later time if it were not for the termination of their employment.

The taxpayer had no entitlement to the additional period of 'special leave'. The leave was provided by the employer as a privilege. The special leave was made available as an additional period for rest and recreation in recognition of the increased demands placed on the taxpayer as a result of the duties they performed. It served a similar purpose to that of annual leave.

The availability of the special leave was determined by reference to matters similar to those matters used to determine entitlement to annual leave. Therefore the payment of special leave falls within the definition of annual leave for the purposes of section 83-10 of the ITAA 1997.

Note: If the special leave accrued in the period prior to 18 August 1993, the tax offset available under section 83-15 of the ITAA 1997 will apply and the lump sum will be subject to the maximum rate of tax of 30%.

Amendment History

Date of Amendment Part Comment
27 February 2015 Facts Remove reference to pre-18 August 1993 leave accrual period
  Reasons for Decision Replace references to sections 26AC and 26AD of the ITAA 1936 with sections 83-10 of the ITAA 1997 effective 1 July 2007. Revise Note on tax offset.
  Legislative references Removed references to sections 26AC and 26AD and 159SA of the ITAA 1936. Added sections 83-10 and 83-15 of the ITAA 1997.

Date of decision: 8 April 2002

Year of income:Year ended 30 June 1999

Legislative references:
Income Tax Assessment Act 1997
   section 6-10
   section 10-5
   section 83-10
   subsection 83-10(2)
   subsection 83-10(3)
   paragraph 83-10(3)(a)
   paragraph 83-10(3)(b)
   paragraph 83-10(3)(c)
   section 83-15

Lump sum payments for unused annual leave
Lump sum payments

Siebel/TDMS reference number: DW287603; 1-6ATS49O

Business line: Small Business/Individual Taxpayers

Date of publication: 14 June 2002

ISSN: 1445-2782

ATO ID 2002/647 history   Top  
   Date   Version 
    8 April 2002   Original statement   
   27 February 2015   Updated statement   
 You are here ®   1 September 2017   Withdrawn   


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