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ATO Interpretative Decision

ATO ID 2003/204 (Withdrawn)

Income Tax
Assessability of a lump sum payment received under a mortgage protection policy

Attention This ATO ID is withdrawn. Guidance on the view contained in this ATO ID can be found in Amounts not included as income (QC 31936).
Attention This document has changed over time. View its history.
FOI status: may be released
Status of this decision: Decision withdrawn 25 January 2018.

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you will need to ensure that the relevant provisions referred to in the decision have not been amended or repealed.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 a lump sum payment received by a taxpayer under the terms of a mortgage protection policy, to be included in assessable income as ordinary income under section 6-5 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) or as statutory income under section 6-10 of the ITAA 1997?


No. A lump sum payment received by the taxpayer under the terms of a mortgage protection policy is not assessable as either ordinary income under section 6-5 of the ITAA 1997 or statutory income under section 6-10 of the ITAA 1997.


The taxpayer has a mortgage protection policy.

The taxpayer suffers a total permanent disablement.

In accordance with the terms of the mortgage protection policy, the insurance company pays the taxpayer a lump sum amount in respect of the taxpayer's claim against the mortgage protection policy.

The taxpayer accepts the lump sum payment in full settlement of their claim and agrees to discharge the insurance provider of all liability under the mortgage protection policy in respect of their total and permanent disablement.

Reasons for Decision

Subsection 6-5(2) of the ITAA 1997 provides that the assessable income of a resident taxpayer includes ordinary income derived directly or indirectly from all sources during the income year.

Based on case law, it can be said that ordinary income generally includes receipts that:

 are earned
 are expected
 are relied upon, and
 have an element of periodicity, recurrence or regularity.

Characteristics of a capital receipt include:

 being paid in a lump sum, that is, not received periodically
 being a one-off payment, that is a payment made once and for all, and
 being expected but not relied upon.

The lump sum payment is not earned by the taxpayer as it does not directly relate to services performed. Rather the lump sum relates to personal circumstances that have arisen during the taxpayer's life. The payment is also a one-off payment and thus does not have an element of recurrence or regularity. Although the payment can be said to be expected, and perhaps relied upon, this expectation arises from the terms of the insurance policy. As such, the lump sum payment is not considered to be ordinary income and is therefore not assessable under subsection 6-5(2) of the ITAA 1997.

Section 6-10 of the ITAA 1997 provides that amounts that are not ordinary income but are included in assessable income by another provision, are called statutory income and are also included in assessable income. Statutory provisions about certain types of insurance receipts and capital gains may apply to the payment received.

Section 15-30 of the ITAA 1997 includes in assessable income amounts received by way of insurance or indemnity for the loss of an amount if:

 the lost amount would have been included in the taxpayer's assessable income, and
 the amount received is not assessable under section 6-5 of the ITAA 1997.

The lump sum amount is paid to the taxpayer in satisfaction of the surrendering of their capital rights. The taxpayer does not receive the lump sum in respect of income which has been lost. Therefore, section 15-30 of the ITAA 1997 does not apply to the lump sum amount paid to the taxpayer.

Taxation Ruling TR 95/35 Income tax: capital gains: treatment of compensation receipts indicates that settlement of a personal injuries claim represents the disposal of an asset, as the taxpayer has disposed of the right to seek compensation for losses arising from the injury suffered.

The disposal of an asset gives rise to a CGT event.

However, subparagraph 118-37(1)(a)(ii) of the ITAA 1997 entitles a taxpayer to disregard any capital gain or loss made from a capital gains tax event relating directly to compensation or damages received for any injury, illness or wrong the taxpayer suffers personally.

Taxation Ruling TR 95/35 refers to using the 'look-through' approach to determine the most relevant source of a compensation payment.

Using this approach, the taxpayer's personal injury or illness can reasonably be regarded as the real source of the lump sum payment. Subparagraph 118-37(1)(a)(ii) of the ITAA 1997 will apply to the lump sum amount so that any capital gain or capital loss that the taxpayer makes will be disregarded. Therefore, any capital gain resulting from the payment will not be assessable as statutory income.

Accordingly, the lump sum payment is not included in assessable income as it is neither ordinary income nor statutory income (subsection 6-15(1) of the ITAA 1997).

Amendment History

Date of amendment Part Comment
26 February 2016 Reasons for Decision Updated wording for clarity.
Updated legislative reference.
Removed reference to ATO ID 2002/244 (withdrawn).

Date of decision: 24 February 2003

Year of income:Year ended 30 June 2002

Legislative References:
Income Tax Assessment Act 1997
   section 6-5
   subsection 6-5(2)
   section 6-10
   subsection 6-15(1)
   section 15-30
   subparagraph 118-37(1)(a)(ii)

Related Public Rulings (including Determinations)
Taxation Ruling TR 95/35

Related ATO Interpretative Decisions
ATO ID 2004/942

Compensation income
Insurance settlement under an insurance policy
Lump sum payment

Siebel/TDMS Reference Number: 3197873; 1-7MVFP6Q; 1-B4QYR4R

Business Line: Small Business/Individual Taxpayers

Date of publication: 4 April 2003

ISSN: 1445-2782

ATO ID 2003/204 (Withdrawn) history   Top  
   Date   Version 
   24 February 2003   Original statement   
   26 February 2016   Updated statement   
 You are here ®  25 January 2018   Withdrawn   


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