Tax on the Whiteboard: Distributions from foreign trusts

Many people in Australia are beneficiaries of trusts that are based offshore. There is a long standing provision in the tax law that can subject an Australian resident to tax when they get a distribution from a trust in a foreign country.

This is section 99B of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936. Although, strictly not only relevant to foreign trusts, for the most part, this is when the section will operate. The problem is that this provision is not widely known and can catch people unawares.

In this video, John Jeffreys, Tax Counsel of Tax & Super Australia explains how this provision operates and some of the important exceptions to it applying. Discussed in the video is the case of Campbell and Commissioner of Taxation [2019] AATA 2043 (22 July 2019). This case illustrates how badly things can go wrong when the impact of this provision is not understood.