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John Passant

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December 2014



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Solar panel payments and income tax

My latest missive to the Canberra Times, prompted by a page one article about solar panels.  Given I have a success rate of 0% these days with the Canberra Times letters, I expect this too to go into their rubbish bin of history.


The article ‘Solar take-up through the roof’ (Kirsten Lawson, The Canberra Times,  Saturday December 27, page 1) raises, to me at least, one often unasked question.

With all this money going to the solar panel households (‘$17 million in all over the past 12 months’ in the ACT alone, according to Lawson,) what are the tax consequences of payments or credits received by private individuals for electricity sold back to the grid?

In various private rulings the Australian Tax Office argues that the amounts received or credited are not taxable.  It is my view, and that of two other academic colleagues, that the ATO position is in fact incorrect under the current income tax law and that such payments or credits should be included in assessable income.  Our paper, ‘Are returns received by householders from electricity generated by solar panels assessable income?’ can be found in the November 2014 edition of the respected tax journal, the Australian Tax Review, Volume 43(4),  at page 263 to page 280.

In the paper we also call on the ATO to examine the issue more thoroughly than has been the case to date and to issue a public ruling to provide certainty to all taxpayers. In addition we suggest the Abbott government could consider doing what the British government has done and legislate to make such payments exempt from tax.

John Passant
School of Humanities and Political Inquiry
University of Wollongong
NSW 2522


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