Although the Autumn sittings of Parliament ended on Friday 18 March 2016, in an interesting move by Government, Parliament will return for sitting for a three-week period from 18 April 2016 in what could be the last session of Federal Parliament this financial year. The Federal Budget will now be released on 3 May 2016, instead of 10 May as was originally scheduled. If the Parliament fails to pass two industrial reform Bills in that period, the Prime Minister has indicated that a double dissolution election would be held on 2 July 2016.

Commonwealth revenue measures introduced into Parliament or registered as legislative instruments or regulations since our previous TaxTalk Monthly publication include the following:

  • Treasury Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No. 1) Regulation 2016, registered on 26 February 2016, among other things, repeals provisions in the Income Tax Assessment Regulations 1997 relating to the ‘cents per kilometre’ method used for calculating a deduction for car expenses for an income year following the changes made by Tax and Superannuation Laws (2015 Measures No. 5) Act 2015 which reformed the cents per kilometre deduction rules in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997). Under the new law, the Commissioner of Taxation sets the rate of cents per kilometre deductions for the purposes of Division 28 of the ITAA 1997.
  • PAYG Withholding Variation: Company Directors and Office Holders, registered on 2 March 2016, varies to nil the pay as you go (PAYG) withholding obligations for an individual who is a partner in a partnership or a director or employee of another entity appointed as a director, a member of a committee of management of a company, or an office holder who is required to pay those payments to the entity of which they are a partner, director or employee. The variation is effective from 1 April 2016.
  • Taxation Administration Amendment (Disclosure of Information) Regulation 2016, registered on 26 February 2016, amends the Taxation Administration Regulations 1976 to allow taxation officers to disclose protected information to Taskforce Cadena officers. Taskforce Cadena was established for the purposes of reducing visa fraud, illegal work and the exploitation of foreign workers in Australia.
  • Wine Equalisation Tax New Zealand Producer Rebate Foreign Exchange Conversion Determination (No. 35) 2016, registered on 1 March 2016, sets out the manner in which a component of the approved selling price of wine expressed in a currency other than Australian currency may be converted to Australian currency for the purposes of calculating the wine equalisation tax (WET) producer rebate by eligible New Zealand wine producers.
  • Wine Equalisation Tax New Zealand Producer Rebate Claim Lodgment Determination (No. 34) 2016, registered on 1 March 2016, sets out the time when a claim for the WET producer rebate may be made by eligible New Zealand wine producers.
  • The following new goods and services tax (GST) legislative determinations were recently registered to replace previous determinations that have been repealed:
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 08) 2016 for Commission Based Services provided to a member of the Stockbrokers Association of Australia
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 09) 2016 on Loyalty Program Participation
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 10) 2016 for Labour Services
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 11) 2016 on Referrals
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 12) 2016 for Construction Work
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 13) 2016 for Workers Compensation Insurance provided by Coal Mines Insurance Pty Ltd
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 14) 2016 for Selling Agent Services
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 15) 2016 for Prize Winning Events
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 16) 2016 on Licences for Copyright Material
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 17) 2016 for Publishers
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 18) 2016 for Friendly Societies
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 19) 2016 for Vending Machine Operators
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 20) 2016 for Labour Services relating to Primary Production Activities
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 21) 2016 for Vehicle Dealers
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 22) 2016 for Product Suppliers to Service Station Franchisees
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 23) 2016 for Administrators of a Superannuation Scheme
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 24) 2016 for Covered Legal Services Obligation
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 25) 2016 for Refrigerant Processors
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 26) 2016 for Electronic Pharmacy and Medical Centre Data
    • Goods and Services Tax: Recipient Created Tax Invoice Determination (No. 27) 2016 for Referrers, Spotters, Subintermediaries or Sub-agents for General Insurance
    • Goods and Services Tax: Particular Attribution Rules Determination (No. 28) 2016 for Prepayments of Telephone Services
    • Goods and Services Tax: Particular Attribution Rules Determination (No. 29) 2016 for Electricity Distribution Services
    • Goods and Services Tax: Foreign Currency Conversion Determination (No. 30) 2016
    • Goods and Services Tax: Frequency of Fund-raising Events Determination (No. 31) 2016
    • Goods and Services Tax: Simplified Method to Apportion Input Tax Credits Determination (No. 32) 2016 for Caravan Park Operators
    • Goods and Services Tax: Waiver of Tax Invoice Requirement Determination (No. 33) 2016- Choice Hotels Corporate Charge Card.
  • Notice of Substituted Rates of Excise Duty – Notice No. 2 (2016) and Notice of Substituted Rates of Customs Duty For Excise-Equivalent Goods – Notice (No. 2) 2016 apply to tobacco from 1 March 2016.
  • Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Transparency Measures) Bill 2006, introduced into the House of Representatives on 17 March 2016, proposes amendments to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) to increase the quality of information available to superannuation fund members and employers while ensuring that the current obligations in the Corporations Act 2001 in relation to choice product dashboards and portfolio holdings disclosure are workable for industry.
  • Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Choice of Fund) Bill 2016, introduced into the House of Representatives on 17 March 2016, proposes to amend the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 (Cth) to ensure employees under new workplace determinations or enterprise agreements that are made from 1 July 2016 have an opportunity to separately choose their superannuation fund.

Currently, some employees do not have the opportunity to choose their own superannuation fund to which their employer makes superannuation contributions under, or in accordance with, an enterprise agreement or workplace determination. These agreements or determinations may specify a given superannuation fund, or a number of superannuation funds, to which an employer may make contributions for the benefit of the employee. This Bill ensures that all employees under new workplace determinations or enterprise agreements made from 1 July 2016 will have the opportunity to choose their own superannuation fund.

  • Tax Laws Amendment (Tax Incentives for Innovation) Bill 2016, introduced into the House of Representatives on 16 March 2016, proposes to provide investors in Australian early stage innovation companies with a tax offset and a capital gains tax exemption giving effect to part of the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda. In addition, the Bill proposes to amend the early stage venture capital limited partnership and venture capital limited partnership regimes to improve access to venture capital investment and make the regimes more attractive to investors.
  • Tax Laws Amendment (Tougher Penalties for Country-by-Country Reporting) Bill 2016 was introduced into the House of Representatives as a private members Bill by Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh on 29 February 2016. The Bill proposes to increase the penalty for a ‘significant global entity’ failing to lodge a Country-by-Country (CbC) report from $5,400 to a maximum $270,000.
  • Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No 2) Bill 2016, introduced into the House of Representatives, on 17 March 2016 proposes to:
    • provide the Commissioner of Taxation with a statutory remedial power to resolve certain unforeseen or unintended outcomes in the tax and superannuation laws
    • allow primary producers to access income tax averaging 10 income years after choosing to opt out with effect from the 2017 income year
    • provide relief from luxury car tax to certain public institutions that import or acquire luxury cars for the sole purpose of public display
    • make other miscellaneous amendments to the tax and superannuation laws including style and formatting changes, repealing redundant provisions, and correcting anomalous outcomes such as:
      • updating income tax law for name changes for deductible gift recipients
      • making consequential amendments relating to the standardisation of the definition of Australia across the tax law and Norfolk Island tax reforms
      • ensuring life insurance companies are entitled to an exploration development incentive tax offset in accordance with the policy intent
      • removing the redundant ‘5 share requirement’ for Division 615 rollover relief in the ITAA 1997
      • making consequential amendments relating to the consolidation of the confidentiality of taxpayer information provisions
      • making consequential amendments relating to the consolidation of the evidence provisions and the Commissioner’s information gathering provisions.