Wine Equalisation Tax (WET)

On 4 May 2016, the Commonwealth Treasury released the WET Rebate Consultative Group's report to Government which sets out its recommendation to reform the WET rebate. The Government’s decision to reform the WET rebate is a measure in the 2016-17 Budget and forms the Government’s response to the Consultative Group report. The Government announced on 6 May 2016 that consultation with industry on the WET Rebate reforms will commence in coming months.

Customs & Excise

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) issued its audit report on 5 May 2016 into the effectiveness of the administration of tobacco excise and excise equivalent goods. The ANAO report concludes that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Department of Immigration and Border Protection have established a suitable framework for administering a range of indirect taxes, but the framework has not been implemented adequately over the previous five years, and the administration of tobacco excise equivalent goods and the collection of customs duty has fallen short of effective practice. The report makes four recommendations to improve the current processes.

Digital currency

On 5 May 2016, the Commonwealth Government released its response to the Senate Economics Committee Report on Digital Currency. With respect to the view of the Committee that digital currency should be treated as ‘money’ for the purposes of the goods and services tax (GST), and its recommendation that the Government consults with the States and Territories to consider amending the definition of money in the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 and including digital currency in the definition of financial supply in A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Regulations 1999, the Government in its response states that it agrees that consumers should not be subject to the GST twice when using digital currency to purchase goods or services. In relation to the Committee’s recommendation that Government consider establishing a Digital Economy Taskforce to gather further information on the uses, opportunities and risks associated with digital currencies, the Government in its response states that the recently established FinTech Advisory Group is the appropriate mechanism to progress the work.