On 5 May 2014, the Acting Assistant Treasurer announced that the Commonwealth Government had decided to defer the start date for the 'choice product dashboard' and the introduction of a portfolio holdings disclosure regime to 1 July 2015.

The choice product dashboard is intended to enable greater comparability of superannuation products, while the introduction of a portfolio holdings disclosure regime will require reporting of specific superannuation fund investments.

According to the Acting Assistant Treasurer's media statement, this deferral will allow sufficient time for consultation on draft legislation and provide industry additional time to implement the changes.

The Government however remains committed to the reforms as part of its efforts to improve the efficiency, transparency and competitiveness of Australia's superannuation system.

Simple tax returns

On 4 May 2014, the Treasurer announced that the Commonwealth Government will introduce new and simpler tax returns allowing individuals to lodge their tax return through a smartphone, tablet or computer using their web browser. The initiative is called MyTax.

In the announcement, the Treasurer said that from 1July 2014, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will provide an online and substantially pre­ prepared tax return for individuals without complex tax affairs. The ATO will prefill the return with information provided by other organisations such as banks and employers.

Taxpayers will be able to use MyTax if:

  • they were an Australian resident for the financial year,
  • they have income only from salary, wages, allowances, bank interest, dividends and/or Australian government payments,
  • their only deductions are for work-related expenses, expenses related to interest or dividend income, donations and/or the costs of managing their tax affairs, and
  • the only offsets they want to claim are the senior and pensioner tax offset and/or zone and overseas forces tax offset.

Taxpayers will receive an SMS or email from the ATO advising that MyTax may be appropriate for them.

Taxpayers will be ineligible to use MyTax if they have:

  • business income or losses
  • rental properties
  • partnerships or trusts, including managed investment trusts
  • capital gains or losses
  • foreign income
  • lump sum payments
  • employee share schemes
  • superannuationincornes s,or
  • superannuation lump sum payments.

Personal tax rate changes

Tax Laws Amendment (Temporary Budget Repair Levy) Bill2014, introduced into the House of Representatives on 13May 2014, is the lead Bill in a package of Bills which propose to implement the 2014-15 Federal Budget measure which will require individual taxpayers with taxable income over $180,000 to pay a 'Temporary Budget Repair Levy' of 2 per cent on income in excess of $180,000. For further detail, refer to the discussion in this month's Legislative Update section.

Medicare levy thresholds

Tax and Superannuation Amendment (2014 Measures No 2) Bill 2014, introduced into the House of Representatives on 29 May 2014, proposes to give effect to the 2014-15 Federal Budget proposal to increase the Medicare levy low­ income threshold for families (from $33,693 to $34,367) and the dependent child-student component of the threshold (from $3,094 to $3,156) for the 2013-14 income year and later income years.