Federal Parliament was busy in the lead up to its winter break. Here is a brief summary of the progress of superannuation-related Bills.
- The Tax Laws Amendment (2009 Budget Measures No. 1) Act 2009 (Cth)1 received Royal Assent on 29 June 2009 after passing all stages of Parliament without amendment. Schedule 2 of the new Act ‘temporarily reduce[s] the matching rate and maximum co-contribution that is payable on an individual’s eligible personal superannuation contributions’. Schedule 3 ‘reduce[s] the concessional contributions cap to A$25,000 per annum (indexed) from the 2009–10 financial year. The reduced cap [applies] to all concessional superannuation contributions made in the 2009–10 and later financial years’. Schedule 3 reduces the transitional concessional contributions cap.
- The Corporations Amendment (Improving Accountability on Termination Payments) Bill 20092 was introduced into Parliament on 24 June 2009 and has now been referred to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee for report by 7 August 2009. The exposure draft of this legislation was summarised in our Superannuation Update June 2009 and the policy, objectives and key principles underpinning the legislative changes remain the same under the Bill. The new Bill ‘introduces a significantly lower threshold at which termination benefits must be approved by shareholders. Under the new arrangements, termination benefits for company directors and executives exceeding one year’s average base salary are subject to shareholder approval’. Pending the release of related Regulations, the exact scope of the legislative regime remains uncertain in several respects, such as the specific benefits that will be included and excluded from the new cap including the extent to which superannuation contributions and defined benefits are carved out.
- The Tax Laws Amendment (2009 Measures No. 2) Act 2009 (Cth)3 received Royal Assent on 23 June 2009 after passing all stages of Parliament without amendment. Schedule 1 of the Act ‘amends various Acts to ensure there are no adverse taxation implications arising from a payment made by [APRA], or by a liquidator, under the financial claims scheme’.
- The Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Amendment Regulations 2009 (No 1)4 were registered on 25 June 2009. The Regulations amend the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Regulations 1993 to ensure that employers do not have to make superannuation guarantee payments on paid parental leave, payments for service with the Defence Force Reserves and payments for ‘eligible community service activity’ which includes jury service as announced in the 2009–10 Federal Budget. The Regulations commenced on 1 July 2009.
- On 18 June 2009, the Australian Government Actuary registered the Family Law (Superannuation) (Interest Rate for Adjustment Period) Determination 2009.5 The determination relates to the interest rate for ‘adjustment of entitlements of divorced or separated spouses under certain orders or agreements splitting particular kinds of future superannuation benefits made in property settlements under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)’.
- The Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Amendment Regulations 2009 (No. 4)6 were registered on 5 June 2009. The Regulations ‘give effect to the Government’s 2009–10 Budget measure to reduce the minimum payment amounts for account-based pensions for the 2009–10 financial year. This measure extends the pension drawdown relief provided in March 2009 for the 2008–09 financial year’. The Regulations also make ‘minor technical changes to clarify the intended operation of the payment rules for account-based pensions’.
- On 31 July 2009, Treasury released an Exposure Draft7 of the Tax Laws Amendment (2009 Measures No. 6) Bill 2009 on the previously announced optional capital gains tax roll-over for capital losses arising from a complying superannuation fund’s merger with an APRA regulated superannuation fund with at least five members. The closing date for submissions on the exposure draft of the Bill is 28 August 2009.