Commissioner of Taxation v Kamal Jayasinghe  HCA 275
The High Court has granted special leave to appeal the Full Federal Court decision in Federal Commissioner of Taxation v Jayasinghe  FCAFC 79.
The Commissioner lost both cases, at first instance at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and on appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia, where it was held that the taxpayer was exempt from his earnings on the basis that he was the holder of an office in the United Nations.
The case addressed the interpretation of the phrase:
- ‘a person who holds an office in an international organisation’ under section 6(1)(d) of the Interpretational Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963 (Cth) (IOPI Act) and
- ‘a person who holds an office in the United Nations’ under regulation 10 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Regulations 1986 (Cth).
The particular issue in dispute on appeal was whether the interpretation of the phrases was informed by the meaning of the Convention to which the IOPI Act gives effect. The IOPI Act was enacted in part to give effect to the UN Convention stating that officials of the United Nations were to be exempt from taxation on the salaries and emoluments paid by the United Nations.
The majority of the Federal Court (Justice Pagone and Justice Davies) held that, as a Project Manager, the taxpayer was the holder of an office in the UN, an international organisation, meaning that he was entitled to the tax exemption. Chief Justice Allsop dissented on appeal.
The High Court granted special leave to appeal the decision.