The High Court has refused Special Leave for the ATO to appeal the decision of the Full Federal Court in Harding v Commissioner of Tax  FCAFC 29.
This creates legal certainty that a “permanent place of abode” outside of Australia is by reference to the wider location of a country, and is not narrowly limited to a single unit of accommodation.
For the first time, long-term residents in other countries can organise their accommodation within a country without fear that the ATO will consider successive homes to be an indicator of inpermanence when applying the test of a permanent abode.
As this test is only one of four tests of tax residency, living long-term in another country does not guarantee a person has broken tax residency of Australia. However, the decision in Harding provides clarity for this particular test.