Tax treatment of native title benefits

Parliament has recently passed the Tax Laws Amendment (2012 Measures No. 6) Act 2013 which provides that certain native title related payments to or for the benefit of Indigenous persons will not be subject to income or capital gains tax1.

Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry

On 7 June 2013, the Attorney-General released for public consultation draft terms of reference for an Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into two matters under the Native Title Act:

  • connection requirements relating to the recognition and scope of native title rights and interests; and
  • barriers to access to justice and protection of native title rights and benefits imposed by the Native Title Act’s authorisation and joinder provisions.

Review of roles and functions of native title organisations

The Commonwealth government has initiated a review of the roles and functions of Native Title Representative Bodies and Native Title Service Providers. Deloitte Access Economics has been contracted to undertake the review over the calendar year of 2013. The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has established terms of reference for the review and Deloitte Access Economics has prepared a discussion paper.2

Charities Act 2013

The Charities Act 2013 (Cth) will commence on 1 January 2014. The Charities Act contains statutory definitions of ‘charity’ and ‘charitable purpose’. Importantly, the Charities Act now sets out in what circumstances the ‘public benefit’ test will be satisfied (for the purposes of Commonwealth law) where the benefit is for related Indigenous persons (e.g. such as in a native title claim).