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  • General purpose financial statements

    For each income year starting on or after 1 July 2016, a corporate tax entity that is a significant global entity with an Australian presence must give us a general purpose financial statement (GPFS) unless a GPFS has already been provided to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

    We must give a copy of the GPFS to ASIC. ASIC will place this copy on their register and make it accessible to the public.

    These requirements are set out in section 3CA of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 which aims to provide greater transparency, particularly by large multinationals and certain private groups.

    Note: All legislative references in this document are to the Taxation Administration Act 1953 unless otherwise stated.

    Guidance

    In response to feedback from external stakeholders, the ATO has updated its guidance published on 27 September 2017.

    Key updates

    Changes to the guidance include:

    • How to prepare a GPFS: We have clarified the requirements and options available to you if you have a Part 2M.3 obligation under the Corporations Act 2001, if you do not and if you are a member of a group of entities.
    • What is CAAP: We have expanded on what accounting principles we consider to be commercially accepted accounting principles (CAAP). If the accounting principles you seek to apply are not listed, we have provided further guidance on how you can self-assess whether those particular principles are CAAP.
    • Best practice: We have added an explanation of what we mean when we use the phrase ‘effective consolidation or aggregation of the operations of your entire multiple entry consolidated (MEC) group’ and provided a further explanation in respect of financial statements that are compiled under a compilation engagement.
    • Financial year most closely corresponding to the income year: We have further clarified what this term means and added examples to better explain and demonstrate the meaning of the phrase.
    • We make it clear that the GPFS you give us needs to be in English.

    Find out about:

    Helping you comply

    In offering a transitional administrative approach during the first year, for you to meet your obligations under the newly introduced section 3CA, we aimed to provide temporary relief to those experiencing difficulties and incurring additional cost to fully comply with section 3CA.

    If you are continuing to experience difficulties complying with your 3CA obligations beyond the first year, you should contact us to discuss your circumstances. In particular, you can contact us to apply for an extension of time to lodge your GPFS if you consider you are at risk of not complying with your 3CA obligations because you are:

    • experiencing difficulties in establishing systems within the time that you have to give us a GPFS prepared in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards
    • encountering unexpected additional costs, particularly if you have not previously prepared your financial reports in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards.

    As you are aware the Commissioner is obliged to apply the law. In the rare circumstances where you continue to encounter difficulties in fully complying with your 3CA obligations, you may contact us so we can work together to solve your particular issues. This may mean we can consider a practical compliance approach which takes into consideration your circumstances so you can meet your 3CA obligations.

    Other relevant resources

    Contact details

    If you have any questions, email SGE@ato.gov.au

    Last modified: 08 Apr 2019QC 58498