High Court of Australia

Commissioner of Taxation v Tomaras [2018] HCA 62

13 Dec 2018

Case Number: B9/2018


Kiefel CJ, Gageler, Keane, Gordon, Edelman JJ


Family law – Matrimonial cause – Proceedings to alter property interests – Where wife was indebted to Commissioner for certain taxation related liabilities plus general interest charge – Where wife applied for order that husband be substituted for wife as debtor and husband be solely liable to Commissioner for debt – Where s 90AE(1)(b) of Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) permitted court to make order directed to creditor of one party to marriage to substitute other party to marriage in relation to debt owed to creditor – Whether s 90AE bound Commissioner in relation to debt owed to Commonwealth – Whether s 90AE(1)-(2) of Family Law Act granted court power to make order sought by wife.

Practice and procedure – Question stated – Where question of law stated by Federal Circuit Court of Australia under s 94A(3) of Family Law Act for opinion of Full Court of Family Court of Australia – Where question concerned jurisdiction to make order – Where preconditions to making of order in s 90AE(3) of Family Law Act unlikely to be satisfied – Whether stated case procedure was appropriate.

Words and phrases – "bind the Crown", "case stated", "common probability of fact", "creditor", "Crown immunity", "debt of a party to a marriage", "party to a marriage", "person", "presumption", "property of the parties to a marriage", "property settlement proceedings", "question of law", "rights, liabilities or property interests of a third party", "tax debt", "third party".

Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) – ss 79, 80, 90AA, 90AC, 90ACA, 90AD, 90AE, 94A, Pts VIII, VIIIAA.

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