New payroll tax de-grouping decision (NSW)

In Urmar Pty Ltd ATF Ross Burton Family Trust v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue [2017] NSWCATAD 54, the New South Wales (NSW) Civil and Administrative Tribunal confirmed the earlier decision of the Chief Commissioner not to de-group Urmar Pty Ltd ATF Ross Burton Family Trust from any other entity it had been grouped with under the grouping provisions of the Pay-roll Tax Act 1971 (NSW) and Payroll Tax Act 2007 (NSW). The Tribunal also found that the garnishee notice issued by the Chief Commissioner to the taxpayer’s bank in respect of the direct recovery of outstanding payroll tax liabilities was neither void nor invalid.

The Tribunal’s decision in relation to de-grouping was on the basis that the applicant’s income was derived almost solely from other group members, the existence of loans between group members, decision-making by a common individual across a number of entities within the group, sharing of resources by group members, and the use of the same accountancy firm by members of the group. In weighing up the relevant factors, the Tribunal was not satisfied that the Applicant carried on a business independently of, and not connected with, the carrying on of a business by other members of the payroll tax group.

New bill in relation to the ‘Backpacker Tax’ (Cth)

The Federal Government introduced the Treasury Laws Amendment (Working Holiday Maker Employer Register) Bill 2017. This bill proposes to give effect to the Government’s commitment that PwC 2 TaxTalk Monthly March 2017 the information collected by the Commissioner concerning the registration of employers of working holiday makers will not be made publicly available and the Commissioner will only be able to disclose protected information to the Fair Work Ombudsman for an entity that is actually or is reasonably suspected of non-compliance with a taxation law. 

Super guarantee noncompliance working group (Cth)

The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services announced the establishment of a new multi-agency working group to investigate and develop practical recommendations to deal with superannuation guarantee non-compliance. The working group was due to provide an interim report to the Minister at the end of February 2017, with a final report due in March 2017.

Increase to the value of penalty units (Cth)

The Crimes Amendment (Penalty Unit) Bill 2017 was introduced, which proposes to increase the Commonwealth penalty unit from $180 to $210 from 1 July 2017, and delays the first automatic adjustment of the penalty unit to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) until 1 July 2020, with indexation to occur on 1 July every three years thereafter. If enacted as drafted, the Bill will impact a number of Federal penalties, including penalties for failing to lodge FBT returns, and penalties for failing to meet other employment taxes obligations.