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  • Foreign Investment Stakeholder Group key messages 24 November 2022

    Key topics discussed at the Foreign Investment Stakeholder Group meeting 24 November 2022.

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    Introduction of ATO’s Online services for foreign investors

    Jennifer Farley, Assistant Commissioner, ATO

    In June 2020 the government announced that it was considering a new Register of Foreign Ownership that would merge and expand the existing agricultural land, water and residential registers, in order to increase the government’s visibility of foreign investments made in Australia. This was legislated through the Foreign Investment Reform (Protecting Australia’s National Security) Act 2020External Link which received royal assent on 10 December 2020.

    With the Commissioner of Taxation being appointed the Registrar, the ATO is pleased to announce that the planned commencement date for the new Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets (the Register) is 1 July 2023.

    To support the introduction of the Register, the ATO is launching a new secure online self-service platform for foreign investors and their representatives. This will be called Online services for foreign investors. It is set to launch on 26 June 2023.

    Reasons for moving to Online services for foreign investors are numerous and include:

    • bringing consistency with how other government systems are being designed
    • providing a secure platform for foreign investors/clients
    • providing a reliable environment allowing clients to manage their authorisations, levels of access and types of permissions online
    • reduced manual work – for investors and the ATO (client information will be pre-filled in forms for applications, vacancy fee lodgment and registrations)
    • first step in enabling our clients to self-serve, consistent with ATO vision that 'tax just happens'.

    The ATO will conduct a comprehensive communications and stakeholder engagement strategy. This will take into account the diverse user group (multi-national large business to individual residential land investors), non-English speaking user groups and various other factors.

    The ATO welcomes advice, input and suggestions from this group.

    Stakeholder engagement will commence in early 2023.

    Treasury annual reporting on foreign investments

    Annual reporting

    Sharon Nyakuengama, Treasury

    Separate publications for the Foreign Investment Review Board Annual Report and Regulator Performance Framework (RPF) Report will not be produced for 2021–22.

    The combination of the replacement of the RPF with the new Regulator Performance Guide and the requirements of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 mean that publication of regulator performance information now appears in relevant agencies’, or departments’ annual reports.

    Treasury’s 2021–22 Annual Report now includes detailed performance information on Treasury’s regulatory functions under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975.

    In addition to the information published in the Treasury Annual Report, in his report on the evaluation of the 2021 Foreign investment reforms, the Treasury Secretary noted that to increase transparency of its operations, Treasury was developing additional public performance reporting.

    This new performance reporting in is final stages of development and Treasury expects to be in a position to publish the first report very soon.

      Last modified: 13 Dec 2022QC 71083