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What's new in FBT

Last updated 30 June 2021

Read about recent events and changes affecting fringe benefits tax (FBT).

Proposed and recent law changes

Proposed law changes include:

Recent law changes include:

Proposed law changes

Changes to FBT record keeping

The government has announced that it will provide the Commissioner of Taxation with the power to allow employers to rely on alternative records, such as existing corporate records where adequate, to finalise their FBT returns. This would be an alternative to employee declarations and other prescribed records.

If enacted the change will have effect from the start of the first FBT year (1 April) after the date of royal assent of the legislation. This cannot be earlier than 1 April 2021.

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Worker entitlement contributions

Under changes proposed by the Fair Work Laws Amendment (Proper Use of Worker Benefits) Bill 2019, the exemption for worker entitlement contributions will only be available to an employer if the contribution is made to a fund either:

  • registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009
  • established by or under, and operating under, a law of the Commonwealth, a state or territory, for the purposes of ensuring long service leave is paid.

Other existing conditions for exemption are unaltered by this measure.

The proposed changes will apply from a date set by proclamation or six months and a day after the changes receive royal assent. Employers will need to confirm that any worker entitlement fund they make a contribution to is registered at the time of commencement, under either the:

  • Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009
  • register maintained by the Registered Organisations Commissioner as a transitioning approved or non-approved fund.

Funds currently endorsed as an ‘approved worker entitlement fund’ for fringe benefits tax may be ‘transitioning funds’ for up to 12 months after commencement while they seek registration as a worker entitlement fund.

At the time of publishing, this change had not yet become law.

Worker entitlement funds

There will be changes for funds that are currently endorsed, or seeking endorsement, as a worker entitlement fund for FBT purposes should the proposed amendments become law. They will be required to register under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 if they wish to continue to operate as a worker entitlement fund. Registration will involve considerations and obligations unrelated to FBT.

Recent law changes

FBT retraining and reskilling exemption

Under changes to the FBT laws, employers who provide a benefit in respect of training or education to employees who are redundant – or are soon to be made redundant – may now be exempt from FBT.

The exemption can be applied to retraining and reskilling benefits provided on or after 2 October 2020.

Retraining and reskilling benefits that are exempt from FBT are not included in your FBT return, or in your employee's reportable fringe benefits amount. If you’ve already lodged your 2021 FBT return and paid any FBT owing, you can amend your 2021 FBT return to reduce the FBT paid for retraining and reskilling that is exempt.

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Access to certain FBT small business concessions

Under changes to the FBT and income tax laws, businesses with an aggregated turnover of $10 million or more and less than $50 million will be able to access certain existing FBT small business concessions.

Eligible businesses will be able to access:

  • a fringe benefits tax exemption in relation to small business car parking
  • a fringe benefits tax exemption in relation to the provision of multiple work-related portable electronic devices.

The changes to eligibility for the concessions apply in relation to benefits provided to employees from 1 April 2021 onwards.

See also  

Taxi travel

The taxi travel FBT exemption was recently amended to include travel to and from the workplace on or after 1 April 2019 in a vehicle involving the transport of passengers for a fare (other than in a limousine). This includes travel in a ride-sourcing vehicle, or other vehicles for hire that don't have a taxi licence.

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Administrative changes

Deferral of due date for balancing payment for FBT

The due date for the balancing payment for fringe benefits tax (FBT) for employers using tax practitioners who lodge FBT returns electronically has been deferred from 28 May to 25 June. This change has been made under administrative powers of the Commissioner of Taxation.

The due date of the balancing payment is now aligned to the due date of the FBT return lodgment date of 25 June for this class of taxpayers.

This deferral will apply from the 2021 FBT year onwards.

Recent public advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts

Your business may have been impacted by COVID-19 and you may provide your employees with benefits as a result, which may affect your FBT obligations. This includes allowing your employees to garage a work vehicle at home and paying for items that allow your employees to work from home.

We've published the following information on common benefits provided to employees as a result of COVID-19.

Find out about:

Car parking fringe benefits

TR 2021/2 Fringe benefits tax: car parking benefits was published on 16 June 2021.

This ruling finalises Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2019/D5. The ruling sets out when the provision of car parking is a 'car parking benefit' for the purposes of the fringe benefits tax legislation, including the Commissioner’s views on the meaning of ‘commercial parking station’. This ruling does not address the meaning of ‘primary place of employment’, as the Commissioner’s position is being considered in light of a recent court decision. This ruling will be amended to include further guidance on this point in due course.

This ruling applies before and after its date of issue. However, to the extent that this ruling conflicts with views in Taxation Ruling TR 96/26 Fringe benefits tax: car parking fringe benefits (withdrawn 13 November 2019), it will apply to car parking benefits provided on or after 1 April 2022.

See also  

Deductibility of employee travel expenses

The new Taxation Ruling TR 2021/1 Income tax: when are deductions allowed for employee's transport expenses? was published on 17 February 2021.This ruling finalises Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2019/D7 Income tax: when are deductions allowed for employees' transport expenses? It provides guidance on when an employee can deduct transport expenses under section 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

TR 2021/1 explains that generally, transport expenses for travel between home and a regular place of work do not have the required connection to employment income and are not deductible. In contrast, transport expenses incurred when travelling between work locations are generally deductible provided neither location is the employee's home. The ruling also explains a number of special cases or exceptions to these general rules.

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Travel-related food and drink expenses, travel allowances and living-away-from-home allowance (LAFHA)

Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2021/D1 Income tax and fringe benefit tax: employees: accommodation and food and drink, expenses, travel allowances, and living-away-from-home allowances, published on 17 February 2021, replaces Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2017/D6 Income tax and fringe benefits tax: when are deductions allowed for employees' travel expenses?

Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2021/D1 explains:

  • when an employee can deduct travel-related food and drink expenses under section 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997
  • the fringe benefit tax implications, including the application of the 'otherwise deductible rule' where an employee is reimbursed for accommodation and food and drink, or where the employer provides or pays for these expenses
  • the criteria for determining where an allowance is a travel allowance (as defined in subsection 900-30(3) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 or a living-away-from-home allowance benefit under section 30 of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 and the difference between them.

This draft ruling should be read in conjunction with Draft Practical Compliance Guideline PCG 2021/D1 Determining if allowances or benefits provided to an employee relate to travelling on work or living at a location – ATO compliance approach. This draft Guideline, published on 17 February 2021, outlines our compliance approach in determining if employees in certain circumstances are travelling on work or living at a location away from their normal residence.

See also

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