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  • 19 May 2017

    The Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group meeting was held on Friday 19 May 2017.

    The information provided below is to assist professional associations to communicate key messages to members.

    Federal Budget

    The ATO provided an overview of the Federal Budget 2017. Of particular interest was the measure relating to capital gains tax for foreign investors. The ATO has taken questions on notice in relation to:

    • the consultation process for implementation of the measure
    • the volumes of requests for clearance certificates given the decrease in the withholding threshold
    • community and ATO readiness for implementation.

    The ATO will continue to consult with tax practitioners and professional associations on all budget measures.

    In addition to the changes announced in the Federal Budget 2017, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Bill 2016 received royal assent on 19 May 2016. These changes take effect from 1 July 2016 and include:

    • reducing the company tax rate over 10 years to 25% for companies with an aggregated annual turnover of less than $50 million
    • increasing the small business entity turnover threshold
    • increasing the unincorporated small business tax discount.

    The ATO will conduct an extensive communication campaign utilising multiple channels including the Tax professionals newsletter, Small Business newsroom and social media to advise the community of these changes as well as provide information on ato.gov.au.

    Return form instructions and other information products will be updated to assist taxpayers with the changes.

    Further information:

    Superannuation

    With superannuation changes starting from 1 July 2017, the ATO has released a range of resources to help tax and superannuation professionals effectively prepare their clients.

    The resources will help advisers better identify which clients will be impacted, how they will be impacted and what action is necessary to ensure they’re compliant with the legislative regulations.

    The resources include Law Companion Guidelines that describe the ATO view on how the new laws will apply, and Guidance Notes with examples of how the law may operate in practice.

    The ATO has also planned a series of webinars on a range of topics relating to key super changes, and has published frequently asked questions and answers.

    Further information:

    Six Law Companion Guidelines have been released, with more to be released in the near future:

    The Guidance Notes currently available are:

    • New transfer balance cap for retirement phase accounts 
    • Change to non-concessional contributions cap 
    • Change to concessional contributions cap 
    • New transfer balance cap – defined benefits 
    • Changes to the taxation of defined benefit income streams 

    Cyber Security and the role of tax professionals

    With a rise in the delivery of digital services across a growing number of channels, the tax profession faces an increased risk of cyber-attack, information compromise, and identity crime.

    To deliver an enhanced client experience, build trust and confidence in ATO services and the taxation and superannuation system more broadly, the ATO needs to collaborate with our trusted partners to jointly address the risk of identity crime while still providing contemporary services.

    To combat this increased threat of attack to the ATO, our partners, and to protect the information of taxpayers, the Cyber Security Working Group was formed. This is a consultative forum comprised of ATO representatives, digital service providers and tax professional associations.

    There are a variety of opportunities for ongoing work with tax professional bodies on cyber matters including:

    • improved data integrity (Identity confirmation)
    • security standards for tax professionals incorporating assurance checks against best practice
    • creating a culture of early breach notification enabling timely revenue and client protection

    Further information:

    Tips and links

    Scam emails, SMS or phone calls can be very convincing but there are some things you and your clients can look out for to recognise or report a scam.

    The tax profession is going through significant change. Open forums provide a platform for discussion on how the environment and systems are changing, and to encourage and support practitioners to get ready for these changes.

    More information

    Tax practitioners can obtain more information on these topics from the professional association representatives. Tax practitioners should contact their representative to contribute items for future discussions.

      Last modified: 14 Sep 2018QC 27350