5 minute tax updates 11-15 May

NSW landlords can access land tax concession online
Div 7A practice statement updated for COVID-19 conditions
Digital record of advice developed by FPA
Anonymous online form for JobKeeper dob-ins
Banking royal commission commitments put off by 6 months
Using STP to report eligible employees and JobKeeper top-up payments
TPB asked some curly questions on turnover calculations and possible consequences
Clients with residential rental property? Guidance on what they need to know
COVID-19 waiver of training fees in some instances
Anti-money laundering identity clarification
Vocational education and training get a break from loan fees
ASIC extends deadlines for financial reporting
Boost for bushfire recovery
Treasury Laws Amendment (2020 Measures No. 2) Bill 2020 introduced

NSW landlords can access land tax concession online
Rental property owners in NSW who are providing rent relief for eligible tenants in financial distress due to COVID-19 can now apply for land tax concessions online. Eligible landlords whose tenants can prove financial distress due to COVID-19, and who have reduced their tenants’ rent for any period between 1 April 2020 and 30 September 2020, can get up to 25% of 2020 land tax liability, with other options also available.

Div 7A practice statement updated for COVID-19 conditions
The ATO has updated its practice statement on Div 7A — PS LA 2010/4 — to reflect concessions for the lodgment of trust income tax returns for the 2018-19 income year as part of its COVID-19 response. The update ties in with the ATO’s Div 7A advice to companies where the lodgment day for their 2018-19 company tax return has been deferred.

Digital record of advice developed by FPA
The Financial Planning Association is making available a “record of advice” (ROA) template in digital form. An ROA can take the place of the lawfully required “statement of advice” that is triggered when an adviser gives advice to a client. The template allows advice to be provided for a single or a couple, and for withdrawals immediately, from July, twice, or to recommend no withdrawal is made.

Anonymous online form for JobKeeper dob-ins
The ATO has made available a tip-off form on its website to take any reports of illegal activity or behaviour of concern relating to COVID-19 or JobKeeper, or suspected tax misconduct, including phoenix, tax evasion, or black economy behaviour.

Banking royal commission commitments put off by 6 months
The government has announced that the recommended commitments associated with the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry will be deferred for six months in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Under the updated timetable, measures the government indicated would be introduced by 30 June 2020 will now be introduced by December. Similarly, those measures originally scheduled for introduction by December 2020 will now be introduced by 30 June 2021. For any measures contained in exposure draft legislation issued prior to COVID-19, the government will also extend these dates by six months.

Using STP to report eligible employees and JobKeeper top-up payments
The ATO requires notification of eligible staff for JobKeeper payment purposes, plus the fortnight from which an employer is claiming their JobKeeper payment. It says the process can be managed through “STP pay event” by creating a new “other allowances” item. Details are here.

TPB asked some curly questions on turnover calculations and possible consequences
The Tax Practitioners Board has had some on-point questions put to it by practitioners regarding possible outcomes should a client’s actual turnover deviate from that used to seek JobKeeper payments. These include the projection not being accurate when actual data becomes available, genuine mistakes being made in calculations, and who is liable for overpayments. See the TPB’s Q&As here.

Clients with residential rental property? Guidance on what they need to know
The ATO realises that many clients will be residential rental property owners who have had their rental income affected by the COVID-19 situation at present. As a result, many will have questions regarding what they can claim for this income year’s tax time. The ATO provides many frequently asked questions on this area of tax, plus other information that practitioners should find useful.

COVID-19 waiver of training fees in some instances
An instrument was tabled earlier this month that provides for the refunding and waiver of charges imposed on registered training organisations and registered providers by the Australian Skills Quality Authority.

Anti-money laundering identity clarification
The government has sought to clarify, via an instrument tabled last week, the rules where reporting entities are seeking to rely on alternative identity proofing processes to establish the identity of their customer in circumstances where that customer possesses, but cannot produce or provide, relevant identity documents due to measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Vocational education and training get a break from loan fees
An instrument has been introduced that will temporarily exempt students from the requirement to pay loan fees associated with vocational education and training (VET) student loans for six months, until 30 September 2020.

ASIC extends deadlines for financial reporting
ASIC will extend the deadline for both listed and unlisted entities to lodge financial reports under Chapters 2M and 7 of the Corporations Act by one month for certain balance dates up to and including 7 July 2020 balance dates. The extended deadlines for lodgment of financial reports will assist those entities whose reporting processes take additional time due to current remote work arrangements, travel restrictions and other impacts of COVID-19.

Boost for bushfire recovery
Earlier this week the government announced an additional $650 million package of bushfire recovery support. It includes:

  • Forestry Transport Assistance ($15 million): To assist the forestry industry with the increased costs of transporting burned salvaged logs in Victoria and New South Wales.
  • Community Wellbeing and Participation ($13.5 million): backing primary health networks with additional funding.
  • Bushfire Recovery for Species and Landscapes ($149.7 million): supporting habitat regeneration, waterway and catchment restoration.
  • Telecommunications Emergency Resilience ($27.1 million as well as $10 million from the mobile blackspots program): includes the deployment of approximately 2,000 satellite dishes to provide a link if other connections are damaged to rural fire depots and evacuation centres.

Treasury Laws Amendment (2020 Measures No. 2) Bill 2020 introduced
The above bill has been introduced into the House of Representatives, dealing with amendments to the hybrid mismatch rules, Single Touch Payroll reporting, deductible gift recipient status for community sheds, deductible gift recipients and tax secrecy.

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