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  • Business

    • [201771] Practical approach to trust vesting issues
    • [201770] Transparency of tax debt
    • [201769] Major bank levy (MBL)
    • [201767] Tax incentives for early stage investors – principles based test [UPDATED]
    • [201761] Fringe Benefits Tax – definition of taxi [UPDATED]
    • [201745] Effective life review of assets [UPDATED]
    • [201645] Key taxpayer engagement
    • [201641] Petroleum resource rent tax – Closing-down expenditure [UPDATED]
    • [201615] Single Touch Payroll [UPDATED]
    • [201512] Safe harbours – Fringe benefits tax and remuneration [UPDATED]
    • [201508] Infrastructure privatisation

    [201771] Practical approach to trust vesting issues

    Registered: December 2017

    Expected completion: February 2018

    Status

    A This link will download a fileconsultation paper PDF (250KB)External Link is available for comment with feedback provided via Let's TalkExternal Link. Feedback is due by 16 February 2018.

    Purpose

    To seek feedback, as part of consultation on Draft Ruling TR 2017/D10 Income tax: Trust Vesting – amending the vesting date and consequences of a trust vesting, on practical issues that may arise where trusts have been administered after their vesting date in a manner that is inconsistent with the trust‘s vesting terms.

    Feedback will help inform our administrative approach in such cases, as well as the content and type of further public advice or guidance that we can provide.

    Description

    Draft Ruling TR 2017/D10 Income tax: Trust Vesting – amending the vesting date and consequences of a trust vesting outlines our view of the general law and taxation consequences of a trust vesting.

    Continuing to administer a trust in a way that is not consistent with its vesting terms (either intentionally or inadvertently), or ineffectively extending the trust’s vesting date, can have significant tax and other legal consequences.

    We would like to work with trustees as soon as they become aware that the trust’s vesting date has passed. We also intend to provide further advice and guidance to affected trustees and beneficiaries to assist them in managing their tax affairs.

    Who we are consulting

    Feedback is also open to the community through Let’s TalkExternal Link.

    Private Groups Stewardship Group and other interested stakeholders in early 2018.

    Contact

    Matthew Campbell, Trust risk manager, Private Groups and High Wealth Individuals
    Matthew.Campbell@ato.gov.au telephone (02) 6058 7398

    [201770] Transparency of tax debt

    Registered: December 2017

    Expected completion: February 2018

    Status

    Public consultation has commenced on draft legislationExternal Link which will allow disclosure of tax debt information of businesses to credit reporting bureaus (CRBs).

    The ATO is also seeking feedback on our consultation paper which describes the administrative approach for this measure. Feedback is due by 9 February 2018 and should be submitted via email to TaxDebtTransparency@ato.gov.au.

    Treasury and the ATO have previously undertaken targeted consultation in March to April 2017 with tax and industry professionals, and wider consultation in November 2017. This focussed on informing stakeholders on the administrative approach for the measure and consulting on the safeguards designed to protect business, including the right to review. Feedback received throughout the year has been considered and incorporated into the administrative design.

    Purpose

    The ATO is seeking feedback on the administrative approach to the proposed transparency of tax debt measure.

    Description

    Proposed legislation will allow the ATO to disclose tax debt information of businesses that are not effectively engaging with the ATO to manage their tax debt to CRBs. The consultation paper provides detail on:

    • the phased implementation
    • whose tax debt information may be reported
    • how an entity will be notified before its tax debt information is reported
    • how an entity can prevent its tax debt information from being reported
    • how an entity can request an ATO review before its tax debt information is reported
    • when the ATO may report an entity’s tax debt information
    • what tax debt information will be reported
    • who tax debt information will be reported to
    • how long tax debt information will remain on an entity’s credit report, and
    • what to do if tax debt information is reported incorrectly.

    Who we are consulting

    The draft legislationExternal Link and ATO consultation paper is available for general public consideration and comment.

    Contact

    Gail Hopley, Director – Transparency of tax debt project, Debt
    TaxDebtTransparency@ato.gov.au telephone (07) 3219 5991

    [201769] Major bank levy (MBL)

    Registered: November 2017

    Expected completion: March 2018

    Status

    The working group met on 6 November 2017 to discuss recent developments in the implementation process, with consultation to continue on an ongoing basis.

    Purpose

    To consult with key stakeholders to progress the implementation of the Major Bank Levy (MBL).

    Description

    The MBL applies to authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) with a total liability greater than $100 billion for a particular quarter. The affected ADIs have a lodgment/reporting obligation with both the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The MBL is payable to the ATO. The general administration of the MBL is the responsibility of the Commissioner of Taxation.

    Who we are consulting

    • Australian Bankers Association
    • Australian Prudential Regulation Authority
    • Treasury

    Contact

    James Campbell, Director, Public Groups and International
    james.campbell@ato.gov.au telephone (02) 9374 8867

    [201767] Tax incentives for early stage investors – principles based test

    Registered: November 2017

    Expected completion: June 2018

    Status

    Our draft guidelines - A step-by-step guide to the principles-based innovation testExternal Link were published for public consultation and feedback for a period of 12 weeks on Let’s TalkExternal Link. At the conclusion of the consultation period on 22 January 2018, no feedback had been received. The guidelines will be finalised and released.

    Purpose

    To seek feedback on our draft guidelines for investors in early stage innovation companies.

    Description

    We have developed the draft guidelines in relation to the application of the principles-based innovation test set out in Division 360 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

    The principles-based test is one of two alternative tests a company must satisfy to qualify as an early stage innovation company.

    Who we are consulting

    • tax practitioners via the Tax professionals newsletter
    • the business community via Business bulletins
    • the general community via ‘Let’s TalkExternal Link

    Contact:

    Tim Beale, Director, Private Groups and High Wealth Individuals
    timothy.beale@ato.gov.au telephone (07) 3213 5641

    [201761] Fringe Benefits Tax – definition of taxi

    Registered: September 2017

    Expected completion: February 2018

    Status

    A discussion paper closed for comment on 24 October 2017. The ATO has considered the responses and expects to finalise the matter by February 2018.

    Purpose

    To consider an interpretation of ‘taxi' for fringe benefits tax purposes that includes vehicles licensed to provide taxi services, including rank and hail services, ride-sourcing vehicles and other vehicles for hire.

    Description

    The ATO is consulting on the definition of ‘taxi’ contained in the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 (FBT Act) and the exemption from fringe benefits tax for taxi travel taken to or from work or due to illness under section 58Z of the FBT Act.

    In light of a recent Federal Court decision in the matter of Uber B.V. v Commissioner of Taxation [2017] FCA 110External Link (Uber), and certain proposed changes to licensing regulations in a number of states and territories, we consider it is appropriate to review our interpretation of the definition of ‘taxi’ contained in the FBT Act.

    The FBT Act provides that taxi travel beginning or ending at work or undertaken due to sickness or injury is fringe benefits tax exempt. The exemption is limited to travel in a motor vehicle licensed to operate as a taxi.

    Who we are consulting

    Feedback was open to the community and industry stakeholders through the technical discussion paper TDP 2017/2 on the ATO Legal Database and Let’s TalkExternal Link.

    We have consulted with industry stakeholders including employers, tax professionals, industry representatives and state governments.

    Contact

    Anna Longley, Assistant Commissioner, Private Groups and High Wealth Individuals
    Anna.Longley@ato.gov.au telephone (03) 8632 4575

    [201745] Effective life review of assets

    Registered: June 2017

    Expected completion: May 2018

    Status

    Consultation with industry participants occurred from June 2017 to December 2017. Draft asset lists and effective lives are being prepared and will be published here for public comment. They will also be sent to relevant participants and profession associations for comment.

    Draft determinations will be made progressively available from January to March 2018. Comments can be provided to the relevant contacts below.

    Purpose

    To determine the effective life of assets used in the following industries:

    • spirit manufacturing
    • mining support services – oil and gas
    • wholesale trade (multiple industries)
    • fruit and vegetable processing – jam and dried fruit
    • scientific testing and analysis services
    • dairy product manufacturing (butter and ice cream manufacturing)
    • banking.

    Description

    Under section 40-100 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 the Commissioner may make determinations of the effective life of depreciating assets. The determinations will be used to update and expand the effective life schedule attached to Taxation Ruling TR 2017/2.

    The draft effective lives determinations will be referred to an independent review panel expected to be held in May 2018. The review panel checks the review process to confirm that the level of industry consultation was appropriate. If approved, the effective life determinations are expected to apply to assets purchased on or after 1 July 2018.

    Who we are consulting

    Various profession associations, industry associations, businesses, suppliers, manufacturers and repairers of assets used in these industries.

    Contact

    • Kim Dziedzic (Fruit and vegetable processing – jam and dried fruit, and spirit manufacturing)
      Effective Life – Interpretative Assistance, Public Groups and International
      kim.dziedzic@ato.gov.au telephone: (07) 3213 5764
    • John Di Francesco (Mining and support services – oil and gas, and banking)
      Effective Life – Interpretative Assistance, Public Groups and International
      john.difrancesco@ato.gov.au telephone: (07) 3213 6059
    • Susan Li (Scientific testing and analysis services)
      Effective Life – Interpretative Assistance, Public Groups and International
      susan.li@ato.gov.au telephone: (07) 3119 9891
    • Shirley Liao (Dairy product manufacturing (butter and ice cream manufacturing))
      Effective Life – Interpretative Assistance, Public Groups and International
      shirley.liao@ato.gov.au telephone: (07) 3213 5264
    • Bernie Mosslar (Wholesale trade (multiple industries))
      Effective Life – Interpretative Assistance, Public Groups and International
      bernard.mosslar@ato.gov.au telephone: (07) 3213 5586

    [201645] Key taxpayer engagement

    Registered: August 2016

    Expected completion: February 2018

    Status

    We have worked with the Corporate Tax Association to develop and co-deliver a series of workshops with representatives from many of Australia's largest public and multi-national businesses in terms of the key taxpayer engagement (and other large market) initiatives. The workshops have been held in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney. We will be engaging with the large advisory firms to provide briefing sessions on these large market initiatives.

    Purpose

    To develop and implement the Key Taxpayer Engagement initiative.

    Description

    Earlier consultation confirmed that the ATO should develop a multi tax engagement approach to integrate with the current Annual Compliance Arrangement (ACA), Pre-lodgment Compliance Review (PCR) and the recently developed Indirect Tax PCR for the largest public and multinational business clients.

    Who we are consulting

    Corporate Tax Association and the Large Business Stewardship Group.

    Contact

    Jeff Stevenson, Assistant Commissioner, Public Groups and International
    jeff.stevenson@ato.gov.au telephone: (02) 8894 9455

    [201641] Petroleum resource rent tax – Closing-down expenditure

    Registered: August 2016

    Expected completion: February 2018

    Status

    The ATO consulted with stakeholders on ‘Closing-down expenditure’ during August and September 2017. As a result of feedback received, further consultation was undertaken on a draft Taxation Ruling during October 2017. The ATO published Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2017/D9 on 13 December 2017 for public consultation with comments due by 8 January 2018, and the final ruling expected to be published in February 2018.

    Purpose

    To provide guidance relating to when a payment is considered to constitute closing-down expenditure within the meaning of section 39 of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax Assessment Act 1987 (‘PRRTAA’).

    Description

    The ATO has been approached by a number of taxpayers seeking advice relating to the closing-down expenditure provision in section 39 of the PRRTAA in a number of scenarios, including persons holding a project combination certificate in respect of their production licences and the cessation of production on one or more (but not all) of the licences in the project combination certificate.

    On 30 November 2016, the Government announced a review into the operation of the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax, crude oil excise and associated Commonwealth royalties (the PRRT review). The Treasurer released the report of the PRRT review on 28 April 2017. The Government’s interim responseExternal Link to the review and its consultation paper were released on 30 June 2017.

    Recommendation 4 of the PRRT review specifically refers to the ATO consultation on this issue and provides that if the ATO does not provide sufficient clarity to address the application of s39 of the PRRTAA to partial closing down situations, the PRRT legislation should be amended to recognise partial closing down expenditure as general project expenditure if the tests for such expenditure are met.

    Who we are consulting

    Industry members through the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) and the tax profession represented on the Energy and Resources working group.

    Contact

    • Faith Harako, Assistant Commissioner, Public Groups and International
      faith.harako@ato.gov.au telephone: (08) 9268 6336

    [201615] Single Touch Payroll (STP)

    Registered: April 2016

    Expected completion: July 2018

    Status

    STP Design Working Group – met on 15 December 2017 with strategic discussions on the deferrals and exemptions framework and PAYGW and Activity Statement Focus Group. End of year updates were also provided for the Client engagement, Employee commencement, Online screen and Scenarios focus groups.

    Further information can be found at the Let's Talk STP DesignExternal Link page.

    Single Touch Payroll Technical Committee (formerly Technical Working Group) – met on 19 December 2017 and discussed:

    • STP Technical Change Roadmap, showing scheduled changes, and changes still being impact assessed and/or under industry consultation. The purpose is to give certainty to assist digital service providers develop end-state solutions.
    • return error messaging, file size management, SLA of up to 72 hours and service recovery strategy
    • PAYEVNT.0003 conformance suite test cases
    • employee commencement - during the coming months, the group will evaluate technical implementations to supporting this feature.

    Meeting outcomes and further information can be found on the Single Touch Payroll Technical CommitteeExternal Link page.

    STP Readiness Working Group – met on 7 December 2017 and discussed program focus areas, stakeholder engagement activities and plans for re-focussing the Readiness Working Group from 2018 to focus more on employers.

    Meeting outcomes and further information can be found on the STP Readiness Working GroupExternal Link page.

    STP Advisory Group – met on 14 December 2017 with strategic discussions on the process and progress of the critical STP Program focus areas including the Business Implementation Guide (BIG) and scenarios, Operational Framework and assurance testing. Further discussions focussed on digital service provider and employer readiness for 1 July 2018 implementation.

    Further information can be found on the STP Advisory GroupExternal Link page.

    Purpose

    To:

    • raise awareness of Single Touch Payroll across industry
    • ensure we engage with a broad cross section of industry, including software developers, solution providers, associations and businesses
    • work in partnership with industry for them to help shape and influence design
    • use industry expertise and experiences as we progress the implementation of STP.

    Description

    Schedule 23 of the Budget Savings (Omnibus) Act 2016External Link contains Single Touch Payroll reporting which means:

    • employers will no longer need to generate payment summaries for their employees
    • employers will no longer be required to generate annual payment summary reports
    • there is no requirement to pay PAYG withholding at the time of reporting, however an employer may make voluntary payments if they choose.

    Who we are consulting

    • Intermediaries
    • software developers
    • businesses
    • industry representatives
    • super funds and clearing houses
    • employees.

    Contact

    John Shepherd, Assistant Commissioner Single Touch Payroll, Superannuation
    singletouchpayroll@ato.gov.au telephone: (02) 6216 6678

    [201512] Safe harbours – Fringe benefits tax (FBT) and remuneration

    Registered: March 2015

    Expected completion: February 2018

    Status

    During November 2017 we determined that we cannot proceed with a Practical Compliance Guide (PCG) on minor benefits, including minor entertainment benefits. We are unable to provide simplified guidance due to the diversity of the minor benefits provided by employers. We propose to explore whether an amendment to Taxation Ruling TR 2007/12 Fringe benefits tax: minor benefits or Fringe benefits tax – A Guide for Employers might assist employers in reducing red tape.

    A PCG on the minor use of exempt vehicles was published on 18 December 2017 with feedback sought by 8 February 2018.

    Further consideration of other FBT safe harbour options is to be being undertaken in consultation with the working group.

    Purpose

    To identify and achieve red tape reductions in the area of FBT and remuneration.

    Description

    To explore proposals with a view to developing safe harbours that align the tax treatment with commercial realities and provide appropriate risk mitigation.

    Who we are consulting

    Profession bodies, industry representatives and key tax agents.

    Contact

    Philip Turnour, Private Groups and High Wealth Individuals
    FBTRisk&Intell@ato.gov.au telephone: (03) 5227 1668

    [201508] Infrastructure privatisation

    Registered: March 2015

    Expected completion: June 2018

    Status

    The draft Infrastructure Framework document was issued on 31 January 2017 with stakeholder consultation continuing. Due to the current Treasury stapled structures consultation process taking place, the expected date for final release is now not likely to occur until early 2018.

    Separately, we have sought feedback regarding negative control in the context of Division 6C. An updated document is expected to be released by December 2017, with some further stakeholder consultation likely.

    Purpose

    To identify key tax issues associated with infrastructure privatisation and establish the ATO position. Consultation will take place progressively regard identified tax issues.

    Description

    To identify critical tax issues with Infrastructure privatisation and to make submissions about appropriate tax treatment.

    Who we are consulting

    • Law Council of Australia
    • The Tax Institute
    • Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
    • Infrastructure Partnerships Australia
    • Corporate Tax Association
    • Property Council of Australia
    • AVCAL
    • large accounting and law firms and potential infrastructure investors.

    Contact

    Peter Maher, Director, Public Groups and International
    peter.maher@ato.gov.au telephone: (03) 9946 9049

      Last modified: 19 Feb 2018QC 54486