Australian Taxation Office

New or updated materials on ATO website, including:

Senate inquiry into tax avoidance

The Senate Committee Inquiry into corporate tax avoidance was due to present its final report today, but has now been granted an extension of time to report by 30 November 2015.

Parliament

Tax Laws Amendment (Small Business Measures No. 3) Bill 2015, which proposes to give effect to a number of 2015-16 Federal Budget measures including the small business tax offset for individuals, allowing small businesses to immediately deduct certain costs incurred when starting up a business and to extend the FBT exemption relating to work-related portable electronic devices, was passed by the House of Representatives yesterday. This Bill will now progress to the Senate.

Barriers to services exports

The Productivity Commission has released a draft report on barriers to growth in services exports in Australia. The report includes draft recommendations directed at establishing priorities for international negotiations and improving domestic policy settings, including from a taxation perspective, that the Government should:

  • continue to progress the Asia Region Funds Passport (ARPF)
  • simplify Australia's withholding tax regime through reforms that pursue greater uniformity of rates applying to different types of investment, a reduction in the range of domestic exemptions and the negotiation of more consistent withholding tax rates in tax treaties
  • not introduce additional concessional withholding tax rates for the ARFP as future changes to the withholding tax regime should seek to introduce greater uniformity
  • during the course of the Tax White Paper process, make a determination on the optimal rate for withholding taxes having regard to a range of listed factors
  • not make changes to the dividend imputation system in order to increase service exports. Instead, consider changes to the system as part of the Tax White Paper process, incorporating analysis on effects on broader issues
  • ensure that the Board of Taxation reviews the Investment Manager Regime no later than 2020, and
  • continue to facilitate the development of a range of collective investment vehicles as part of the Tax White Paper process. Submissions can be made by Friday 18 September 2015. The final report is due to be released in early December 2015.

Free Trade Agreements

Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, gave a speech at the National Press Club yesterday discussing the importance of free trade agreements to create growth and new jobs in Australia beyond the mining boom.