In February this year, a Full Federal Court decision (Harding v Commissioner of Taxation) threw what practitioners knew about Australia’s residency rules on its head. It came after a Federal Court decision found that a taxpayer was a resident for tax purposes, with the FFC overturning that decision.

It was after this that the ATO sought special leave to appeal the FFC decision to the High Court. The case sets an important precedent (or, it will) because although the taxpayer had lived outside Australia for 17 of the previous 20 years, the ATO argued he was still a resident of Australia under incumbent rules. Commentators have said that the situation of the case demonstrates that the tax residency rules for individuals leaving Australia are complex and can result in uncertainty.

The basic facts of the case were previously sketched out on this website, and a wider ranging article explaining this further featured in Tax & Super Australia’s member magazine The Taxpayer in the May issue. Readmore