5 minute tax updates: 23-27 March

“One stop shop” for essential tax and super info on COVID-19 stimulus measures
Reducing the drawdown rates
Accessing the cash flow boost
Basic myGovID guidance
Ride sourcing service providers to get the data-matching treatment
WET, LCT and GST administrative moves to DPN and estimates regimes
WA’s relief COVID-19 measures relating to penalty tax and payment arrangements
ATO’s audit support service for SMSF auditors
Director sentenced to jail for GST fraud
SMSF annual return – Part A qualification changes
Reasonable amounts for food and drink released
Temporary CPE revisions from TPB

“One stop shop” for essential tax and super info on COVID-19 stimulus measures
The ATO has today updated its website with essential information about tax and superannuation changes that have now become law following the passage of the Government’s Economic Support Package through the Parliament. The site is ato.gov.au/coronavirus.

Reducing the drawdown rates
Significant losses in financial markets as a result of the COVID-19 crisis are negatively affecting the account balance of some retirees’ superannuation pension or annuity. To assist, the government has reduced the minimum annual payment required for account-based pensions and annuities, allocated pensions and annuities and market-linked pensions and annuities. The minimum annual payment needed to be made to members for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years has been reduced by 50%. Find details at the ATO’s Minimum annual payments for super income streams.

Accessing the cash flow boost
If you or your clients are looking to access the new cash flow boost, you only need to lodge your activity statements — the ATO says it will update your account details automatically, so you don’t need to phone to apply. For info on support available to you, see this ATO page.

Basic myGovID guidance
The ATO page Basic myGovID now available advises that offshore employees, non-residents working in Australia or Australians without the required identity documents may be able to use a Basic myGovID to access services such as the Business Portal. And the page Accessing our online services with a Basic myGovID advises details of the myGovID access available to those with a Basic identity strength.

Ride sourcing service providers to get the data-matching treatment
The ATO has announced through the government Gazette that it will acquire ride sourcing data to identify individuals that may be engaged in providing ride sourcing services during the 2019-20 to 2021-22 financial years. It intends to then match these taxpayers to data it holds, and estimates that records relating to approximately 250,000 individuals will be obtained each financial year.

WET, LCT and GST administrative moves to DPN and estimates regimes
The ATO has released PCG 2020/2 explaining how it will administer changes made by the Treasury Laws Amendment (Combating Illegal Phoenixing) Act 2020 that brings GST, LCT and WET within the existing estimates and director penalty regimes. The guideline applies from 1 April 2020.

WA’s relief COVID-19 measures relating to penalty tax and payment arrangements
Financially strapped West Australians in difficult on the back of the COVID-19 crisis can apply for assistance. From 23 March, the ATO will remit in full penalty tax for late payment of tax liabilities for taxpayers who can demonstrate that COVID-19 has directly or indirectly affected their financial circumstances, and new payment arrangements (to pay by instalments or extend the time for paying tax) will be interest-free for those taxpayers who can demonstrate that they are unable to pay their tax.

ATO’s audit support service for SMSF auditors
SMSF auditors can access the ATO’s Super Professional-to-Professional (P2P) service. The Super P2P service provides timely technical assistance to help SMSF auditors with questions that arise during the audit of an SMSF. The service offers a two working day call back or email to discuss the query, provide general advice, or negotiate a response date if required. To request a connection to the service, fill in the form available here.

Director sentenced to jail for GST fraud
The director of a telecommunications company was sentenced to two years and six months jail for falsifying 10 business activity statements (BAS). By overstating sales and acquisitions, the Queensland woman netted herself $200,553 in fraudulent refunds. She also attempted to obtain a further $55,413, but this was stopped by the ATO after further review.

SMSF annual return – Part A qualification changes
While Part A qualifications will continue to be reportable in the 2020 SMSF annual return (SAR), the instructions will make it clear that Part A qualifications resulting from insufficient audit evidence in relation to opening balances are not required to be reported. The requirement to report whether a Part A qualification has been rectified or not has also been removed from the 2020 SAR with this reporting requirement now only applying to Part B qualifications. More details here.

Reasonable amounts for food and drink released
The ATO has released a taxation determination TD 2020/4, Fringe benefits tax:  reasonable amounts under section 31G of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 for food and drink expenses incurred by employees receiving a living away from home allowance fringe benefit for the fringe benefits tax year commencing on 1 April 2020.

Temporary CPE revisions from TPB
The TPB has announced that it has temporarily revised its CPE requirements as a result of COVID-19. Currently, its policy sets a 25% cap for relevant technical or professional reading. It is removing this cap for the next six months. It’s important to note that while the 25% professional reading cap has been temporarily lifted, it is still expected that practitioners will first and foremost explore online CPE offerings. All other elements of the TPB’s CPE requirements remain unchanged and it reminds practitioners of the obligation to keep a log book detailing all activities.

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