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Taxation of Trusts (LAWS70333)

Graduate coursework level 7Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70333
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This core tax subject will examine in depth the Australian income tax rules applicable to trusts, including significant new and ongoing reforms and policy developments. It will apply these rules to the range of applications of trusts, including private trusts such as unit trusts, family discretionary trusts, public managed investment funds, real estate investment trusts, nominee trusts, and stapled structures used by large businesses.

Principal topics include:

  • Definition and types of trust at law and for tax purposes and framework of trust tax rules
  • Trust distributions, beneficiaries and trustees, present entitlement, net income and flow-through of tax attributes, such as franking credits and capital gains
  • Trust losses
  • Anti-avoidance and integrity rules
  • Capital gains tax for trusts, including formation, distributions, termination, unit trusts and deceased estates
  • Managed investment and real estate unit trusts, public trading trusts, and stapled and other trust structures
  • Trust tax reform and new developments.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of trust taxation rules and of how these tax rules apply to trusts in a range of different applications
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal rules
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the key planning and structuring uses of trusts
  • Have an advanced understanding of taxation of private trusts for individuals and families, discretionary and unit trusts for businesses, public managed funds, real estate and trading trusts, nominee and stapled structures used by large business
  • Have a detailed understanding of topical issues and tax reforms applicable to trusts
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating the use of trusts, and to critically evaluate the tax treatment applying to them
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging issues relating to taxation of trusts
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding taxation of trusts to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of taxation of trusts.

Eligibility and requirements


Melbourne Law Masters Students: Successful completion of Taxation of Business and Investment Income and Capital Gains Tax: Problems in Practice or equivalent subjects, or appropriate professional experience is required:

LAWS70325 Capital Gains Tax: Problems in Practice
LAWS70250 Tax of Business and Investment Income

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
LAWS70081 Capital Gains Tax: Problems in Practice
LAWS70002 Tax of Business and Investment Income
Semester 1

JD Students: Successful completion of the below subject:

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
LAWS50046 Taxation Law and Policy
Semester 1
Semester 2



Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Core participation requirements

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Additional details

  • Assignment (2,500 words) (30%) (27 November)
  • Take-home examination (5,000 - 6,000 words) (70%) (10 - 13 January 2020)

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • November
    Principal coordinatorTerry Murphy S.C.
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24-34 hours
    Total time commitment150 hours
    Pre teaching start date 9 October 2019
    Pre teaching requirementsThe pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.
    Teaching period 6 November 2019 to 12 November 2019
    Last self-enrol date14 October 2019
    Census date 6 November 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail13 December 2019
    Assessment period ends13 January 2020

    November contact information

Additional delivery details

This subject has a quota of 30 students.

Enrolment is on a first come, first served basis. Waitlists are maintained for subjects that are fully subscribed.

Students should note priority of places in subjects will be given as follows:

  • To currently enrolled Graduate Diploma and Masters students with a satisfactory record in their degree
  • To other students enrolling on a single subject basis, eg Community Access Program (CAP) students, cross-institutional study and cross-faculty study.

Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Specialist materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    If required, please contact law-admissions@unimelb.edu.au for subject coordinator approval.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 28 August 2019