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  • GST Stewardship Group key messages 27 November 2020

    Agency updates

    Agency representatives provided written updates which were included in the meeting papers circulated to members.

    Treasury update

    In addition to a written update, the following information was provided.

    The JobMaker Hiring Credit Amendment Bill 2020 received royal assent on 13 November. This piece of legislation enables the Treasurer to make rules for the scheme, which is designed to encourage the hiring of young employees. This stimulus measure will provide up to $200 a week to businesses for eligible employees.

    Consultation is underway for:

    • options on mandatory e-invoicing by business. A consultation paperExternal Link is available via Treasury. Responses close on 18 January 2021.
    • the Payments System Review IssuesExternal Link paper. This issues paper is part of the review of the regulatory architecture of the Australian Payments System to ensure it is fit for purpose. Consultation closes on 31 December 2020.

    Consultation undertaken in November:

    • Subordinate legislation relating to insolvency reform to support small business (closed on 24 November).
    • Draft legislation for consumer credit reforms (closed on 20 November).

    Members’ comments

    Members welcomed the announcement of the extension of the full expensing measure to larger corporates.

    ATO update

    In addition to a written update, the following information was provided.

    Overseas use of myGovID

    The interim business credential enabling overseas use of myGovID will not be available after 31 December 2020. A dedicated team within Public Groups and Internationals will work with overseas registrants to support the small number of users that require an additional level of assistance to the interim business credential. Members are encouraged to make contact on behalf of any clients experiencing issues.

    The COVID-19Taxissues@ato.gov.au mailbox will close on 11 December. Please utilise GSTStewardshipGroup@ato.gov.au – issues will be allocated to appropriate areas to provide the support required.

    JobKeeper 2.0 is underway with minimal issues identified to date. A new branch has been created, led by Deputy Commissioner James O’Halloran, with reallocated resources to deliver both JobKeeper and JobMaker stimulus measures.

    With JobMaker receiving royal assent, the ATO is waiting on the rules but is ready to open registrations on 7 December 2020.

    Members’ comments

    Is the disparity between the numbers of GST registrations and cancelled GST registrations influenced by COVID-19?

    • The ATO confirmed there has been growth in Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) for independent contractors in certain industries. These new entrants are often at the very low end of the micro business scale; they may be ‘rebound jobs’ that some may argue are not a business.

    Members noted anecdotal evidence of a rise in businesses not registering for GST through COVID-19. A member suggested that we update our guidance regarding thresholds for GST registration to remind taxpayers of their obligations.

    Could any of the nine litigation matters listed by the ATO as strategic require a change to public rulings or law?

    • The ATO confirmed that the general principles in the rulings still hold.

    Members update

    Members raised two topics for discussion:

    • Electronic options – Members expressed an interest in electronic options for private rulings, objections and BAS lodgments. While options including GSTmail@ato.gov.au are available, the ATO will review the information currently available to see that it provides people with the guidance they need to electronically lodge ruling requests. The ATO provided an overview on the digital strategy underway with online services for business.
    • Compliance Assurance Reviews (CAR) – A member noted a perceived lack of consultation for the move away from CARs to a risk-based approach and the rationale behind that change. Other members noted consultation had occurred outside the GST Stewardship Group.

    E-invoicing

    The ATO provided members with an update on e-invoicing.

    In the 2020–21 Government Budget, as part of the JobMaker Digital Business Plan, the Government is looking to accelerate e-invoicing adoption to deliver economy wide efficiency benefits and strengthen digital capabilities of businesses.

    • Government is mandating for Commonwealth agencies to adopt e-invoicing by 1 July 2022, with 80% of invoices able to be received electronically by 1 July 2021.
    • Government is also working to accelerate state and local government adoption.
    • ATO is working with all levels of government to facilitate agency readiness.
    • Government will consult on options for mandatory adoption by businesses.

    An update was provided on the progress of e-invoicing adoption.

    • The ATO has been established as the Australian Peppol Authority.
    • The A-NZ localised Peppol specifications have been released.
    • Twenty-two access points have been accredited in Australia, facilitating connection to the Peppol network.
    • Software providers are starting to release e-invoicing products, with key players anticipated by mid-next year.
    • Three Commonwealth agencies have onboarded, with other agencies underway.
    • Work continues with states and territories to drive the adoption of e-invoicing.

    GST gap

    The ATO presented the GST gap information, released as part of the ATO Annual Report, and outlined a new project.

    This new project aims to better understand the drivers of the GST gap. Discussions focused on how to inform the group and the community about the gap to encourage compliance through education and improvements within tax system administration.

    The group considered a range of questions related to the gap including issues related to specific industries, complexity, software and law interpretation.

    The ATO will organise a workshop in the first quarter of 2021 with interested members to talk through the GST gap work and undertake more in-depth analysis of the gap by market, behaviour, industry and risk.

    Reflections on 2020

    The chair reviewed the topics discussed throughout the year and correspondence circulated to members. Initial feedback from members included:

    • The level of information provided pre-meeting has helped to improve running of the meetings with information received in advance leading to better outcomes. Also having information that is sensitive and not for further circulation issued separately has assisted in members understanding what can be shared with industry and what cannot.
    • Ad-hoc out-of-session meetings for deep dives on topics were useful in ensuring the main meetings could run efficiently and effectively.
    • The group is continuing to build trust with open conversations and is not afraid of 360-degree feedback.
    • It would be good to see if more thought could be given to how the Stewardship Group could help in relation to sustainability of the GST system.
    • Agenda topics to be provided by members for future meetings.
    • It was good to have accessible advice throughout COVID-19 to address problems quickly.

    An email will be circulated seeking further feedback from members.

    Other business

    Associations will be contacted as part of the biennial review and membership refresh.

    Proposed 2021 meeting dates will be circulated.

    Attendees

    Attendees list

    Organisation

    Attendee

    ATO

    Deborah Jenkins (Co-chair), Small Business

    ATO

    Alex Affleck, Tax Counsel Network

    ATO

    Andrea Wood, Small Business

    ATO

    Anthony Siouclis, Client Engagement Group

    ATO

    Darren Wheeler, Client Engagement Group

    ATO

    Emma Tobias, Small Business

    ATO

    Fiona Harkins, Small Business

    ATO

    John Dardo, Enterprise Solutions and Technology

    ATO

    Justine Williams, Small Business

    ATO

    Kathrina Weinhonig (Secretariat), Enterprise Strategy and Design

    ATO

    Mario Rinaudo, Small Business

    ATO

    Nigel Cousins, Public Groups and International

    ATO

    Peter Holt, Small Business

    ATO

    Peter Horton, Small Business

    ATO

    Sylvia Gallagher, Individuals and Intermediaries

    Australian Banking Association

    Chris Plakias

    Australian Business Software

    Matthew Prouse

    Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

    Kevin O’Rourke

    Coles Finance

    George Nikolaou

    Corporate Tax Association

    Paul Suppree

    CPA Australia

    Ken Fehily

    Law Council of Australia

    Andrew Sommer

    Property Council of Australia

    Andrew Howe (Co-chair)

    Queensland Treasury

    Giles Wilmer

    The Tax Institute

    Bastian Gasser

    Treasury

    Geoff Francis

    University of New South Wales

    Michael Walpole

    Apology

    Apologies list.

    Organisation

    Member

    ATO

    Sue Goodear, Small Business

      Last modified: 21 Jan 2021QC 64571