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What’s new this year 2020?

A list of new initiatives incorporated in this year's Individual tax return instructions.

Last updated 27 May 2020

COVID-19 measures and support

Specific measures and support are available for individuals impacted by COVID-19 including:

  • JobKeeper payments for eligible employees
  • early access to superannuation which is not assessable income
  • the introduction of an optional simplified method (from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020) to claim 80 cents for each hour you work from home to cover all deductible running expenses
  • specific advice on the tax treatment of employment payments made because of COVID-19 (for example if you take leave, are stood down or lose your job)
  • specific advice on the tax treatment of residential rental property income and expenses.

See also:

Net medical expenses for disability aids, attendant care or aged care

From 1 July 2019, the tax offset for net medical expenses for disability aids, attendant care or aged care is no longer available.

No deductions for vacant land

You can no longer claim tax deductions for the cost of holding vacant land, such as:

  • interest incurred on loans to acquire the land
  • land taxes
  • council rates
  • maintenance costs.

These changes apply to costs incurred from 1 July 2019, even if you held the land before that date.

However, deductions for vacant land can still be claimed where, for example:

  • the land is used by you in a business carried on for the purpose of gaining or producing assessable income
  • the land is used or available for use in carrying on a business (for example, primary production)
  • the land is vacant due to an exceptional circumstance (such as fire, flood, or substantial building defects) that occurred within the last three years.

See also:

Limiting tax relief for foreign residents selling property in Australia

Foreign residents can no longer claim the CGT main residence exemption when they dispose of their residential property in Australia, subject to certain exceptions as noted below.

Existing foreign resident residential property owners can access the CGT main residence exemption under the pre-existing rules for property they:

  • held before 7.30pm (AEST) on 9 May 2017, and
  • disposed of on or before 30 June 2020.

Existing foreign resident residential property owners who have been foreign residents for a period of six years or less may be able to access the CGT main residence exemption under pre-existing rules if, during that period of that foreign residency, certain prescribed life events occur.

Partners and CGT small business concessions

Where a capital gain arises from a CGT event that involves the creation, transfer, variation or cessation of an interest or right that entitles someone to the income or capital of a partnership, the partners in a partnership can no longer access the small business CGT concessions where:

  • the CGT event occurred after 7.30pm (AEST) 8 May 2018, and
  • the interest or right is not a membership interest held by the person with the entitlement.

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The way you get your payment summary information is changing

If your employer has started using Single Touch Payroll (STP), your payment summary information is called an 'income statement' in myGov. This is now the equivalent of your payment summary (some people may still refer to it as a group certificate).

Your employer is not obliged to give you an end-of-year payment summary for the information they report through STP (the law has changed).

Your payment summary information will now be available in myGov. We will send a notification to your myGov inbox when your income statement is ‘tax ready’ so you, or your tax agent, can complete your tax return. You can contact us for a copy of your income statement.

You can continue to lodge your tax return as you do now.

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