Daily updates: 12-16 April

16 April

Women and leadership development $5,000 scholarships applications open
Women & Leadership Australia is looking to encourage more women to step into leadership roles across the legal, finance and accounting sectors, and is therefore offering scholarships for three leadership development programs. Development scholarships of up to $5,000 per person are available. The present round of funding is available to women across all states and territories, and must be allocated by the end of June 2021. Expressions of interest can be lodged here (before 18 June).

TPB to hold free webinars next week
CPD value is on offer from two Tax Practitioners Board one-hour webinars to be held on Thursday 22 April. At 11am AEST the TPB is partnering with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to discuss data breaches and how to mitigate the risk of malicious/criminal attacks. Then at 2pm AEST the TPB will unpack its code of professional conduct. Register here for the first, and here for the second. And of course don’t forget to check Tax & Super’s CPD offerings, which are updated regularly.

ATO competes for your attention, so take your pick
Coincidentally, the ATO is also hosting an event at 2pm AEST Thursday 22 April — clashing with the second TPB offering mentioned above. Part of its Tax Professionals webcast series, the ATO is to host a panel of experts to discuss how you can help your business clients with investment measures and tax offsets, including temporary expensing and loss carry back.

COVID-19 concessions extended by TPB
The Tax Practitioners Board has extended some of its COVID-19 concessions until 30 June 2021. It says it will continue to accept a small amount of continuing professional education (CPE) dedicated to your educative health and wellbeing activities, remove the 25% cap for relevant technical and/or professional reading activity in its CPE policy, and waive the requirement to lodge your annual declaration if your registration renewal is due in 2022.

Sick of streaming yet? Here are some SMSF videos
The ATO has made available a range of short videos that explain key responsibilities for trustees, clarify myths and facts, and provide other useful information. The videos are available to watch anytime and cover a wide range of important topics for SMSFs, such as administration and wind up, contributions and payments, investments, setting up an SMSF and planning for the unexpected, and more. See the selection here.

In other news…
OECD Secretary-General report to G20
A 102 page report, OECD Secretary-General Tax Report to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors – April 2021, has been released, which contains some sobering points. Topics broached include tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy, responding to the COVID-19 crisis, tax policy and climate change, tackling international tax avoidance and evasion and more.

Adult media literacy in Australia: attitudes, experiences and needs
This joint report, from the universities of Canberra, Western Sydney and Queensland (QUT), provides the first comprehensive analysis into how Australians understand and use different forms of traditional and digital media. The research shows among other things that increasing media literacy can yield direct benefits for increasing people’s civic engagement.

15 April

NSW introduces small business fees and charges rebate
Services NSW has announced a new rebate scheme for small businesses. If your client is a sole trader, the owner of a small business or a not-for-profit organisation in NSW, they may be eligible for a small business fees and charges rebate. Application only needs to be made once, but multiple claims can be lodged up to the limit of $1,500. Services NSW has also provided an application pro-forma letter to be used by accountants and tax agents.

ASIC extends temporary financial advice relief measure in COVID-19 instrument
ASIC has announced that it will extend one of three temporary relief measures designed to help the financial advice industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. The instrument, which was originally issued in April 2020, expired 15 April 2021. But ASIC has now extended one of three measures, which allows financial advisers to provide a record of advice rather than a statement of advice to existing clients requiring financial advice due to the impact of the pandemic. The extension is until 15 October 2021. The other two relief measures are not extended.

TPB practice note when considering offshoring of services
Practitioners considering entering an outsourcing or offshoring arrangement need to consider that there are various factors to weigh up, says the TPB, depending on the nature of the arrangement and a practitioner entity’s circumstances. The TPB has supplied practical guidance with a practice note (also available as a PDF).

Exploration Development Incentive scheme closed and replaced
The Junior Minerals Exploration Incentive (JMEI) has replaced the earlier scheme the Exploration Development Incentive (EDI) which has finalised and is no longer accepting new participation forms. The ATO has issued guidance on participating in the JMEI, and has provided a form and instructions.

TASA review recording now available
One of the TPB’s most highly sought out webinar recordings is now available on YouTube. Secretary CEO, Michael O’Neill, goes through the Federal Government response to the recommendations made in the final report into the review of the TPB and Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA). You can also access the presentation slides and hyperlinks document. Don’t forget, you can claim CPE for listening to the recording.

Tasmanian dutiable transactions, if deemed “one arrangement”, open for discretional duty trim
The State Revenue Office in Tasmania has a ruling PUB-DT-2019-5 that describes the situations where two or more dutiable transactions can constitute “one arrangement” and therefore be open to the Commissioner’s discretion to not aggregate duties.

NSW to toughen rules on payroll tax avoidance on unpaid wages
The NSW Government is set to introduce tough new laws designed to crack down on companies that avoid their payroll tax obligations on instances of wage theft. Features of the new approach will include harsher penalties and a name-and-shame function for offending companies that would be run by Revenue NSW.

Change of menu for business registration, and director ID regime is the entrée
The Modernising Business Registers program is well and truly under way, with ASIC Registry employees already sharing office space and coffee mug cupboards with ATO staff.

14 April

Data matching international passenger movements
The latest Commonwealth Gazette has posted notice of a new data-matching program. The ATO will access data from the Department of Home Affairs on passenger movements during the 2016-17 to 2022-23 financial years. The data accessed will be electronically matched with certain sections of ATO data holdings to identify taxpayers that can be “provided with tailored information to help them meet their tax and superannuation obligations” — AKA, to ensure compliance with taxation and superannuation laws.

Multinational tax avoidance measures in action
The ATO has made information available about the workings of Australia’s Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law. The targeted anti-avoidance regime has been in place for just over five years, and covers global entities with either Australian-headquartered entities (with or without foreign operations) and the local operations of foreign headquartered multinationals.

One register to rule them all (and share office space)
Mention was made in Daily Update of 6 April of the Federal Government’s Modernising Business Registers (MBR) program, and the plan to unify the Australian Business Register (ABR) and 31 separate business registers administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) onto a single platform. It has now been announced that Chris Jordan, the Taxation Commissioner, has also been appointed the new Commonwealth Registrar of Australian Business Registry Services. Part of that plan will see ASIC registry staff move into ATO office space on 15 April. It is a staffing change only, and does not affect registration requirements.

R&D tax incentive clawback guide released
Under the R&D Tax Incentive, a clawback adjustment arises if during an income year, your client either receives or is entitled to receive a recoupment from an Australian government agency, or a state or territory body — under certain conditions. The ATO has issued a guide for claimants providing information about how the clawback adjustment works for recoupments received.
COVID-19 workplace rules and regulations
Different states and territories have varying rules and mandates regarding workplace safety. For the rules that apply for your location see the following: Queensland, NSW, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory. Even if conditions change, the advice should be updated on each of the above.

Whacky Tax Fact
When the Romans occupied Egypt, they found that some religious ceremonies called for the sacrifice of a calf in temples. After priests had assessed the purity of the animal slated for sacrifice, they placed a seal around its horns signalling its suitability. Records exist stating the required tax was paid by religious practitioners, with the payment of said tax occurring on the day of sacrifice.

13 April

True tax crime: ATO opens its case files
For fans of true crime stories, the ATO has published some of its stand-out tax crime prosecution case studies. Not every criminal court case makes it into the general news media, and these tax prosecution case studies dissect some of the cases that would otherwise go unreported, and demonstrate, the ATO says, “that people who deliberately cheat the tax system will be held accountable”.

Remediation payments of financial institutions and PAYG obligations
A fact sheet has been released covering pay-as-you-go (PAYG) withholding and reporting obligations for financial institutions arising from making remediation payments. These may include: refund of fees for no service, refund of fees for deficient financial advice, payment of underpaid credit interest, refund of overcharged debit interest, compensation for increased interest costs for overcharged interest, refund of insurance premiums, compensation for loss of earnings, compensation for loss of portfolio value, amount representing inconvenience caused to customer, interest in relation to the delay of receiving one of the remediation payments identified above.

Non-government DGRs may need to change registration status
The bill Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 2) Bill 2021 was recently introduced which, if passed into law, will require non-government deductible gift recipients to register as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. The proposed amendments do not apply to ancillary funds of specifically listed DGRs in tax law. Schedule 1 of the accompanying explanatory memorandum provides further information on the measure.

Determination on what is meant by “public road” for fuel tax credit purposes
The ATO is working on creating a tax determination that will set out the Commissioner’s proposed view on what is a public road for fuel tax credit purposes. This will assist clients, tax professionals and industry with consistent classification of public roads. The determination, or one on draft form, is expected by June 2021.

ATO guidance on dealing with tax debt
The ATO says it can only release your client from payment of particular tax debts where paying those debts would leave them not able to provide for themselves, their family or others for whom they are responsible. This includes providing for items such as food, accommodation, clothing, medical treatment, and education. It has provided guidance on applying for release here.

Tax Wrap podcast: Choosing an adviser
Tax Wrap speaks with academic and author Tom Ravlic about what to look for when choosing a financial or tax adviser, and from a practitioner’s perspective, what prospective clients will need to know before they can have a comfortable level of assurance.

12 April

Muddied car fringe benefit waters get ATO clarity
The ATO is concerned that there are a few employer taxpayers who are not really clear about whether they are providing car fringe benefits to their employees or not. It has just published information seeking to clarify the answer, and is providing several “virtual introductory sessions” to help. These sessions start this Wednesday, with six sessions held at various times planned to the end of April. Register here.

Promoter penalty law application guidance issued
The ATO has issued PS LA 2021/1, which provides guidance on the application of the promoter penalty laws on the application of Div 290 of sch 1 to the ITAA53 and s 68B of the SIS act. It looks at some of the indicators of potential promoter behaviour, the process for making decisions about the promoter penalty laws, and the application of the promoter penalty laws, in particular, the sanctions and remedies available. The new PS LA consolidates PS LA 2008/7 and PS LA 2008/8, which were withdrawn from 8 April 2021.

Student loan repayment rates gazetted
The Commonwealth Gazette has published the repayment rates for HELP loans covering the 2021-22 income year. The percentage rates of repayment are applied after a certain level of income in achieved, starting from $47,014.

Pandemic support measures for film and TV extended
The Federal Government has announced that the COVID-19 support measures announced are to be extended. Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the $50 million Temporary Interruption Fund will be extended for a further six months, to provide coverage for productions that commence principal photography prior to 31 December, 2021. The government will also retain at 40% the producer offset tax rebate rate for feature films with a theatrical release, and will also raise the producer offset rate from 20% to 30% for other eligible formats such as drama and documentary content for television and streaming platforms.

Small business tax time toolkit
The ATO has made available a tax time toolkit for small businesses. The toolkit has tax time essentials and fact sheets that cover home-based business expenses, motor vehicle expenses, travel expenses, using a company’s money or assets, and pausing or permanently closing a business due to COVID-19. There is also a tax time toolkit for individuals.

Online services for business replacing the Business Portal and eSat
Online services for business is already available, and is replacing the Business Portal and the electronic superannuation audit tool (eSAT). The Business Portal will close soon so your clients need to make the switch to Online services for business. To access, direct clients to ato.gov.au/OSB.

Updated guidance on PSI and PSB rules
The ATO has released a draft ruling, TR 2021/D2, that consolidates and updates earlier guidance material on the operation of the personal service income and personal service business rules.


Website Comments

  1. Isaac Gnieslaw

    The ATO has had an epic fail in providing advice as to which vehicles are exempt from FBT and therefore are 100% deductible to the worker who may be on wages or is self-employed. I am talking about 4WD and SUVs. The issue here is that there is no car manufacturing in this country any more and all the imported vehicles are dual cabs. Because a worker or company director thinks that they have a work car used only for work and it is big and full of tools and whatever that they don’t need a log book. However, it has 4 doors, has front and back seats and can sit at least 4 people and therefore the ATO classes it as a passenger vehicle. The ATO has never explained the significance of this to the public and car sales people have not got a clue. By the time the client has gone to his accountant, it is too late and they leave in shock of having to do a log book.

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