High Court of Australia

BHP Billiton Limited v Commissioner of Taxation [2020] HCA 5

11 Mar 2020

Case Number: B28/2019

Before

KIEFEL CJ, GAGELER, KEANE, GORDON, EDELMAN JJ

Catchwords

Income tax (Cth) – Assessable income – Controlled foreign companies – Where Pt X of Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) ("Act") attributes income of controlled foreign company ("CFC") to Australian resident taxpayer who has sufficiently substantial interest in it – Where BHP Billiton Marketing AG ("BMAG") CFC of BHP Billiton Ltd ("Ltd") – Where income of BMAG derived from sale of commodities purchased by BMAG from BHP Billiton Plc's ("Plc") Australian entities – Where that income included in assessable income of Ltd if Plc's Australian entities "associates" of BMAG – Where company "associate" of entity under s 318(2) of Act if "sufficiently influenced" by entity – Where s 318(6)(b) provides that company "sufficiently influenced" by entity if accustomed or under obligation or might reasonably be expected to act in accordance with directions, instructions or wishes of entity – Where Ltd and Plc part of dual-listed company arrangement and operated as if "single unified economic entity" – Whether Plc's Australian entities "associates" of BMAG – Whether Ltd "sufficiently influenced" by Plc – Whether Plc "sufficiently influenced" by Ltd – Whether BMAG "sufficiently influenced" by Plc and Ltd.

Words and phrases – "assessable income", "associate", "attribute", "combined businesses", "controlled foreign company", "dual-listed", "effective control", "in accordance with the directions, instructions or wishes", "single unified economic entity", "sufficiently influenced", "tainted sales income".

Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth) – ss 318, 340, 447.
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