Australian Taxation Office

New or updated materials on ATO website, including:

Barriers to work

The Treasurer has announced that the Government will establish an inter-departmental working group, led by Treasury and the Department of Social Services, to analyse impediments in the tax and transfer systems that act as disincentives for Australians who want to work, save and invest. The Treasurer also noted in his media release that the Government’s Tax White Paper process will include a more detailed consideration of these issues, informed by the working group, and in particular the impact of effective marginal tax rates and how the interaction between tax rates and welfare payments can better encourage Australians to work, save and invest.

Royal Assent to Bill

Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2015 Measures No. 4) Bill 2015 which amends scrip-for-scrip roll-over relief, removes the income tax exemption for certain employees of an Australian government agency who work overseas, and increases the threshold relating to a lost superannuation member account, received Royal Assent on Tuesday 13 October 2015.

Bill introduced into Parliament

Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendments (2015 Measures No 5) Bill 2015 has been introduced into the House of Representatives this morning. This Bill contains the following measures:

  • modernising work-related car expenses by removing the 12% of original value and one-third of actual expenses methods and streamlining the process for calculating the cents per kilometre method, applicable from the 2015-16 income year
  • better targeting of the Zone Tax Offset by limiting access to those people whose usual place of residence is within a zone, applicable from the 2015-16 income year
  • limit the fringe benefits tax (FBT) concessions on salary packaged entertainment benefits by introducing a cap on the total amount that certain employees can be provided that are exempt from or subject to FBT at concessional rates, applicable from the 2016-17 FBT year, and
  • introduce a range of new third party reporting measures, aimed at improving taxpayer compliance by increasing the information reported to the Commissioner of Taxation by third parties in respect of transactions such as payment of government grants, consideration provided for services to government entities, transfers of real property, shares and unit in unit trusts, and business transactions made through payment systems, with effect from 1 July 2016 or 1 July 2017.

Progress of Bills

Alcohol taxation

The Parliamentary Budget Office has released a report, Alcohol taxation in Australia, which examines the structure of alcohol taxation in Australia.

Serious financial crime

The Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Justice yesterday provided an update on the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce, a multi-agency approach to fight serious financial crimes which has been in operation since 1 July this year. Key operational priorities for the Taskforce over the first two years include investigations into serious international tax evasion and criminality related to trusts and phoenix activity – when companies deliberately and repeatedly liquidate to avoid paying creditors, employee entitlements and taxes. See also the transcript of the press conference to formally launch the Taskforce.

Visas and migration

The Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment has tabled an interim report in relation to its inquiry on the impact of Australia's temporary work visa programs on the Australian labour market and on the temporary work visa holders. The committee is due to deliver its final report in February 2016.

Customs and trade

The Joint Select Committee on Trade and Investment Growth has released its report on its inquiryinto the business experience in utilising Australia’s free trade agreements.