Justice Middleton reserved his decision and adjourned the one-day hearing. He will now make a ruling on the taxation of the Kilmore and Murrindindi class action distribution funds.
One of the main arguments Maurice Blackburn put before Justice Middleton asked whether “interest earned on a class action should be considered income … such as private investment earnings or interest earned on savings from employment income.”
The ATO argued that “any interest earned should be treated the same as any other interest income.”
At the conclusion of the hearing Justice Middleton indicated that a decision was unlikely to be handed down this year. Depending on the result, it is also possible that either side might seek to appeal the decision of the trial Judge.
Once Justice Middleton has made a decision, Maurice Blackburn will then consider the implications for group members in both the Kilmore and Murrindindi class actions.
As previously advised, the outcome of the proceeding may result in a further distribution of compensation to Group Members if the Court finds in favour of the Scheme Administrator, but it is impossible to calculate at this point how much you might receive if there is a further distribution.
Given the timeline identified by Justice Middleton, it’s unlikely the case will be decided before the end of the year.
Class action participants with further questions about this issue should contact the
Bushfire Class Action Info-line on 1800 99 55 70.
At the request of Maurice Blackburn this article (The editor of Kinglake Ranges News, Ashley Geelan attended the hearing) was embargoed until today to allow Maurice Blackburn to contact class action participants before publication.