Notice of data matching program for contractor payments (Cth)

The ATO has announced that it will acquire data from businesses that it visits as part of its employer obligations compliance audits during the 2017 to 2019 financial years. The data collected will include details of the payments made to the contractors. These records will be electronically matched with existing ATO data to identify noncompliance with registration, lodgement, reporting and payment obligations under taxation laws.

Cents per kilometre rate and Fringe Benefits Tax (Cth)

The ATO has announced special arrangements in relation to the calculation of cents per kilometre allowances paid during the FBT year ended 31 March 2016. While the Government had made changes to remove the tiered cents per kilometre rates based on engine size in favour of a flat rate of 66 cents per kilometre for all cars, in light of taxpayer uncertainty around the correct rate to apply for the 2016 FBT year, the ATO has confirmed it will accept 2016 FBT returns which have used the FY15 cents per kilometre rates for the entire FBT year.

For future FBT years, employers should use the rate determined by the Commissioner for the financial year ending on 30 June following the end of the FBT year. For example, for the FBT year ending 31 March 2017, employers should use the car rate determined by the Commissioner for the 2016–17 financial year.

Businesses targeted for employee and contractor obligations (Cth)

The ATO has published information on its website to help employers in the bakery, supermarket, car retailing, and computer system design industries to meet their tax and superannuation guarantee obligations. Businesses in these industries have been identified as having a higher risk of not meeting their business obligations.

The ATO has stated that from July 2016 they will be undertaking audits of employers who continue to fail to meet their obligations in respect of employees and contractors.

WA payroll tax threshold increase from 1 July 2016 reminder (WA)

From 1 July 2016, the WA payroll tax threshold will increase from $800,000 to $850,000. The diminishing threshold will be calculated on annual wages between $850,000 and $7.5 million. The tapering value used to calculate the payroll tax threshold will change from 8/67 to 17/133. This effectively means for every $133 over the threshold, the employer will lose $17 of their payroll tax threshold.

Visa and migration

Migration Legislation Amendment (2016 Measures No. 1) Regulation 2016, registered on 15 April 2016, amends the Migration Regulations 1994 to address inappropriate use of the Subclass 457 Visa, streamline the processing of Subclass 457 Visa applications, remove Visa criteria which require provision of evidence of English language proficiency, clarify compelling reasons for giving special consideration to granting a Subclass 202 Visa and introducing a simplified international student Visa framework.