5 minute tax updates: 21-25 September

Updated PS LA on discretion exercised under COVID conditions
Fair Work amendment legislation for continuing JobKeeper issued
ATO virtual open forums for practitioners in October
Do you have business clients who may rack up losses for first time?
Letter sent to outdated address no excuse, rules AAT
One complaints door closes, another opens
Consultation and feedback sought on reforms to foreign investment review framework
Continuous disclosure obligation relief gets an extension
Queensland “defined relative” for some duties purposes extended
South Australia’s “life tenant factors” reviewed for stamp duty purposes
TPB’s FAQs on code of conduct and COVID-19 measures updated
Temporary financial advice relief measures to be extended

Updated PS LA on discretion exercised under COVID conditions
Practice Statement PS LA 2020/1 has been issued, which deals with the Commissioner’s discretion to allow further time for an entity to register for an ABN or provide notice to the Commissioner of assessable income or supplies. The PS LA provides instructions to ATO staff on the discretions under the law supporting the cash flow boost credits for employers and the JobKeeper payment for eligible business participants.  It now includes some new examples which draw from fact patterns the ATO has seen occur over the past four months. These new examples provide extra guidance to ATO officers and businesses, as well as their agents, on when it may, or may not, exercise the relevant discretion.

Fair Work amendment legislation for continuing JobKeeper issued
The Fair Work Amendment (Jobkeeper Payments) Regulations 2020 legislation has been issued, which modifies the 10% decline in turnover test and certain provisions of employment in regard to ordinary hours of work.

ATO virtual open forums for practitioners in October
While not conducted as face-to-face forums, the ATO is continuing to host its open forums program for practitioners. This year its focus is on how the industry will recover from the impact of COVID-19, and how the ATO is supporting you, your clients and your practice in a challenging environment. Importantly, it’s your chance to raise questions and discuss matters affecting you and your clients. Details and the list of dates are here.

Do you have business clients who may rack up losses for first time?
The ATO anticipates that in 2019-20 and 2020-21, a number of businesses that would ordinarily be turning a profit may be making a loss due to COVID-19, possibly for the first time. To help cope with client expectations, or perhaps dashed hopes, the ATO has published information that you could potentially pass on to concerned clients that can remind them of the options available when facing such situations. The ATO document can also help your practice by putting the “right” questions in clients’ hands.

Letter sent to outdated address no excuse, rules AAT
In LLJL and Commissioner of Taxation (Taxation) [2020] AATA 3446, the imposition of administrative penalties was for failure to lodge income tax returns, with the applicant claiming he did not receive letters reminding him to lodge (they were sent, but he hadn’t updated his address). The question was whether the penalties should be remitted where no other grounds for remission of administrative penalties exist. The decision was affirmed.

One complaints door closes, another opens
The Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) is to cease operating on 31 December 2020, with its functions to be replaced by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). The latter agency has released a statement asking for submissions on the subsequent rule changes. It is particularly interested in the approach to any remaining complaints currently with the SCT that are unable to be finalised prior to the SCT ceasing operations.

Consultation and feedback sought on reforms to foreign investment review framework
Following the public consultation of the exposure draft of the Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Bill 2020 from 31 July 2020 to 31 August 2020, the government is seeking stakeholder views on the exposure drafts of the Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Regulations 2020 (Exposure Draft Regulations) and the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Fees Imposition Regulations 2020 (Exposure Draft Fees Regulations). Comments are open until 2 October.

Continuous disclosure obligation relief gets an extension
The Federal Government has announced that a measure put in place last May to provide regulatory relief to companies and officers regarding corporate continuous disclosure provisions will be extended to 23 March 2021. Company directors and executives will continue to only be liable for misinformation if there has been “knowledge, recklessness or negligence” in statements updating price-sensitive facts to the market.

Queensland “defined relative” for some duties purposes extended
The Queensland State Revenue Office concession for dutiable transactions for family businesses of primary production has been extended to now include the first cousin (and spouse) of a person. The public ruling DA105.4.4 extends the definition until 23 May 2021.

South Australia’s “life tenant factors” reviewed for stamp duty purposes
RevenueSA has announced that its life tenant factors in revenue ruling SDA011 [V2] have been re-outlined. The life tenant factors are used in situations where a life estate or a remainder estate is to be determined for stamp duty purposes.

TPB’s FAQs on code of conduct and COVID-19 measures updated
The frequently asked questions page of the TPB website on COVID-19 stimulus measures and practitioners’ obligations under the Code of Professional Conduct has had more added to it since we last checked. Topics include providing certificates for 10% decline in turnover, the situation where a client has been overpaid JobKeeper or incorrectly receiving it, making the monthly business declaration and more.

Temporary financial advice relief measures to be extended
ASIC has extended the temporary advice relief measures concerning advice given on early access to superannuation amidst the continuing uncertain impact of the pandemic. The ASIC Corporations (COVID-19 — Advice-related Relief) Instrument 2020, which was to have been repealed on 15 October 2020, will now run until 15 April 2021.

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