Tax, Equity and Artificiality

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This article examines the influence of the tax context on recent decisions in the law of trusts and equity. It is argued that the judicial engagement with the tax considerations is variable. Pitt v Holt reveals a desire for flexibility which is at odds with the need for predictability. In particular, there is considerable uncertainty in respect of the possible limitation on rescission under Pitt where the arrangement was one of ‘artificial tax avoidance’. It is argued that this limitation, which is a much-criticised aspect of Pitt, is defensible if understood as a factor in the Court’s exercise of discretion. It is necessary to understand the role of tax implications in driving legal ingenuity, when assessing the use and abuse of trusts and equitable doctrines.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrust Law International
Issue number4
Early online date19 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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