Question (20 marks)

On 8 June, the Federal Court handed down its decision in the case News Australia Holdings Pty Ltd v Federal Commissioner of Taxation [2017] FCA 645. The Commissioner was successful in this decision.

You are the tax advisor for News Limited and its group of companies. The board has asked you for your view as to whether News Australia Holdings Pty Ltd ought to appeal the decision of the Federal Court to the Full Court of the Federal Court. This advice is to be provided in a summary report of no longer than 1,500 words. The report should, IN YOUR OWN WORDS, include an evaluation of the arguments discussed in the case and also give due consideration, on the basis of a reasoned legal argument, as to whether the Federal Court applied the law correctly in reaching its decision or whether the Federal Court has made an error in law.

Guidance to help prepare your assignment answer:

    • The case may be found via the following link:
    • Take note of the assessment criteria listed above and the word limit.
    • Please ignore the any discussion and issues associated with Taxation Ruling TR 98/1. This ruling states the Commissioner’s view on the law only. It is not to be treated as if it is the law and is not to be cited as such.
    • Your advice ought to be clear and firm: that is ‘yes, appeal’ or ‘no, do not appeal’. The Board is looking to you for guidance. You must justify this guidance by making a reasoned legal argument providing relevant and appropriate citations in law.
    • If you think the Board ought to appeal, explain why based on the law. Alternatively, if you think the Board ought not to appeal, explain why based on the law. Cite the law in your explanations. Evaluate the arguments used by each party in the case, rather than simply repeat them and state whether you agree or disagree. Evaluating arguments involves comparing and contrasting the arguments made based on the law. A certain level of critical thinking is required.
    • As part of your evaluation, it may be beneficial to briefly summarise and describe relevant facts and arguments from the case, but such summaries and descriptions should not form the majority of your advice. DO NOT simply copy text from the published judgment and piece it together.
    • In considering whether the Board ought to appeal, you should be aware that no new arguments can be presented on appeal. Therefore, you must only evaluate the arguments before the Federal Court in this case.


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