The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has ruled that the seven university shareholders of Australia’s Open Universities association will not have their dividends taxed.


The ruling by the ATO ensures that the UO group will retain its tax-free status, allowing the group to pass on its $16.5 million profits to its constituent universities.


The ATO and the UO were involved in high-level discussions, where the universities argued that despite the UO group being for-profit, their component parts were non-for-profit and therefore entitled to continue its tax-free status.