Australian Taxation Office

New or updated materials on ATO website, including:

Parliament

Yesterday was the last sitting day of Parliament for the Winter Sittings. Parliament will resume on Monday 10 August 2015. The following Bills progressed in Parliament yesterday:

Royal Assent to Bills

The following Bills received Royal Assent on 25 June 2015:

Superannuation Governance

The Assistant Treasurer has released exposure draft legislation and regulations regarding reforms to the governance of superannuation. The proposed amendments which will apply to APRA regulated superannuation funds will require:

  • the fund to have a minimum of one-third independent directors on their trustee board, and an independent chair
  • trustees of funds that do not have a majority of independent directors to report on an ‘if not, why not basis’, and
  • a three-year transition period to apply for existing funds.

Submissions can be made until Thursday 23 July 2015. The new governance rules will not apply to self-managed superannuation funds.

ATO administration of CGT

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has released its report on the Administration of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for Individuals and Small Business Taxpayers. The ANAO recommendations (to which the ATO agreed) were that the ATO:

  • undertakes an evaluation of the bulk mailout of letters to individual taxpayers for potential non-compliance with CGT obligations
  • further assesses the effectiveness of CGT reviews and audits of small business taxpayers, and
  • conduct an evaluation for CGT that includes all the relevant market sectors using the Compliance Effectiveness Methodology.

Tax Reform

The International Monetary Fund has issued a Concluding Statement following an official staff visit to Australia. It has identified comprehensive tax reform as a key policy lever to increase growth and generate revenue to help return the budget to surplus, including addressing bracket creep, reducing the corporate tax rate, eliminating stamp duties and minor taxes, broadening the GST base and possibly raising the rate, reducing concessional treatment of superannuation contributions and earnings for high income earners and reducing the discount on capital gains.

Withholding Schedules

Taxation Administration Act Withholding Schedules 2015, registered yesterday, contains the PAYG withholding schedules which apply from 1 July 2015. These replace the schedules released at the end of May (due to the enactment of the Labor 2013-14 Budget Savings (Measures No 1) Act 2015 (see above)).