The taxpayer had been receiving a percentage of the income derived from 18 gaming machines at its hotel premises. However, the licence of the gaming machine operator was not renewed due to a regulatory change that provided for gaming machine entitlements ("GMEs") to be allocated directly to gaming venue operators. Consequently, the taxpayer bid for and was allocated 18 GMEs permitting it to operate gaming machines at its premises for 10 years, arranging to pay the purchase price to the state government by instalments from 2010 through to 2016.
In finding that the $600,300 paid for the allocation of the 18 GMEs was a capital expenditure, and not an outgoing on revenue account that was deductible under s 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997(Cth), the Court stated (at paras. 33-34):
[T]he determination of whether an outgoing is incurred on capital account or revenue account depends on the nature and purpose of the outgoing: specifically, whether the outgoing is calculated to effect the acquisition of an enduring advantage to the business. And the identification of what (if anything) is to be acquired by an outgoing ultimately requires … a comparison of the expected structure of the business after the outgoing with the expected structure but for the outgoing, not with the structure before the outgoing. Other things being equal, it makes no difference whether the outlay has the effect of expanding the business or simply maintaining it at its present level. If a once-and-for-all payment is made for the acquisition of an asset of enduring advantage which, once acquired, forms part of the profit-earning structure of the business, the payment is incurred on capital account.
… It was necessary for the Trustee to purchase the GMEs in order to continue to carry on its business as it had done up to that point. But the purchase price was a once-and-for-all payment for the acquisition of an asset of enduring advantage – the 18 GMEs – which once acquired formed part of the profit-earning structure of the Trustee's business. It was incurred on capital account.