Implementing new policy

In 2010-11:

  • the government announced more than 50 new tax measures
  • 24 tax and superannuation bills were introduced into parliament, many with multiple new measures. Twenty-two of these bills passed to become new law.

Our Policy Implementation Forum oversees all new policy projects to ensure they are designed and implemented effectively and in line with the legislative intent. At the end of the 2010-11, there were 126 projects reporting to the forum. This forum also provides guidance to taxpayers for legislative changes that apply retrospectively.

Flood levy

On 27 January 2011 the government announced the introduction of a temporary flood levy for 2011-12, commencing 1 July 2011. The levy is to help affected communities across Australia rebuild essential infrastructure and recover from the devastating floods of early 2011. The legislation received royal assent on 12 April 2011.

We supported taxpayers, employers and tax agents by communicating information about the changes to assist them to meet their payment and lodgment obligations and to access exemptions to the flood levy where applicable.

Addressing policy issues

Apart from responding to specific requests for advice we also raised with Treasury situations where the operation of a current law appeared not to reflect the underlying policy intent.

Our advice to Treasury has dealt with a wide range of issues across the income tax, indirect tax, superannuation and tax administration systems. For example, we raised concerns with Treasury about the fragility of the business tax system including aspects of the consolidation regime, transfer pricing and thin capitalisation.

We also advised Treasury of issues that had an adverse impact on taxpayers. For example, we recommended law change to address the ability for individuals to object to the Commissioner refusing to exercise his discretion to disregard or reallocate superannuation contributions where the taxpayer was subject to excess contributions tax.

We worked closely with Treasury on the Tax Issues Entry System. The system allows the community to raise issues relating to the care and maintenance of Australia's tax and superannuation systems.

In one instance, a member of the public expressed concern that Section 153-50 of A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 had recently been amended to replace the references to 'agent' with references to 'intermediary'. A reference to 'agent' had been retained in sub-section 153-50(1)(d)(i), which seemed inconsistent with the general tenor of the amendment. To resolve the issue, we worked with Treasury to seek amendment of the legislation. The relevant amendment, included in Tax Laws Amendment (2011 Measures No. 2) Act 2011, received royal assent on 27 June 2011.

During 2010-11, the Tax Issues Entry System received 36 submissions with 15 currently being progressed as possible amendments to the law.

    Last modified: 31 Oct 2011QC 28036