Introduction

Contributed by AnnetteMorgan and current to 27 July 2018

The principal sources of our income tax law are:

* the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) ("the 1936 Act");
* the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (Cth) ("the 1997 Act");
* the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (Cth) and
* the Income Tax Rates Act 1986 (Cth) - (collectively, "the Acts").

There are a number of other pieces of related legislation and statutory regulations. The 1997 Act represents a partial re-write of the 1936 Act.

You can obtain general information concerning the income tax system from Australian Taxation Office (ATO) publications. The ATO oversees most of Australia's federal tax system and is headed by the Commissioner of Taxation (the Commissioner). It publishes an annual set of tax return instructions and supplementary return instructions, which you can rely upon in preparing your income tax returns. The ATO also publishes a broad range of materials concerning the Australian tax system. These publications can generally be accessed from the main ATO website (https://www.ato.gov.au/) and the ATO Legal Database (https://www.law.ato.gov.au/).

There is also a wide range of private sector publications, including the Master Tax Guides, published annually by CCH Australia Limited, and the Australian Tax Handbook, published by Thomson Legal & Regulatory Group Asia Pacific Pty Ltd.

Taxation law is a complex area and, even armed with this chapter and the abovementioned taxation publications, you may find it necessary to seek advice from the ATO or a taxation adviser. It must be remembered that this chapter can only provide the most general overview of Australian tax law and necessarily does not cover many of the complexities and contradictions in the law. Also, tax law is subject to frequent change. Therefore, while the information contained in this chapter is correct for the 2017-18 income year, unless otherwise noted, the information may not be correct if you apply it to other income years whether past or future.

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