Lodge v Federal Commissioner of Taxation [1972] HCA 49

A woman, earning income by way of commission in her occupation as a law costs clerk, which she carried out at her home, claimed to deduct from her assessable income child care fees that enabled her to devote time and attention to her work. The High Court held that no right to a deduction had arisen. It found that, although the purpose of the expenditure was for gaining assessable income, it did not take place in, or in the course of, preparing bills of cost. Further, the expenditure was of a ‘private or domestic’ nature. This seminal taxation decision, which prevents deductions for childcare, has broad financial ramifications for workers in the home and those with childcare responsibilities. It designates childcare duties as ‘private’, notwithstanding the need for these in order, particularly for women, to work in the public sphere.

Commentary author

Ann O'Connell is Professor at Melbourne Law School. She is Special Counsel at Allens Linklaters, Solicitors, a member of the Advisory Panel to the Board of Taxation and a member of the Australian Tax Office Public Rulings Panel. Her research interest is in taxation law.

Judgment author

Kerrie Sadiq is a Professor at the Business School, Queensland University of Technology, a Fellow of the Taxation Institute of Australia and a Member of the Australasian Law Teachers Association. Her research interest is in taxation law.