Where a trust has income and no one is presently entitled to it, the trustee of the trust will be taxed on this income at the top marginal tax rate because of s99A(4) ITAA36
Note that the income doesn’t necessarily need to be distributed, it could be retained by the trust yet still be taxed in the hands of the beneficiary if they have been made presently entitled to it.
On present entitlements and trusts see this post I wrote a few years ago:
Legal Tip 87: Trusts and Unpaid Present Entitlements
Simpson family trust has $10,000 in income in year 1. The trustee makes Bart presently entitled to the income so Bart is the one that is taxed on this income. The trustee may not physical transfer the money, but if the is the case Bart will still be taxed (and he will have an unpaid present entitlement with the trust, which is similar to a loan). Bart has no other income and pays no tax.
In year 2 the trust has $10,000 in income, but the trustee doesn’t make anyone presently entitled – perhaps they forgot, or perhaps their resolutions were defective.
The trustee will pay the tax at the top tax 47%