Second Reading SpeechSenator Ellison
That this bill be now read a second time.
This bill makes amendments to the superannuation surcharge legislation. The surcharge has been effective at meeting the Government's policy objective of imposing a surcharge on the superannuation contributions of high income earners.
Amendment of the Superannuation Contributions Tax (Assessment and Collection) Act 1997
The bill amends the Superannuation Contributions Tax (Assessment and Collection) Act 1997 to enhance the overall efficiency of the superannuation surcharge through clarifying and simplifying aspects of the legislation.
The operation of the superannuation surcharge will be simplified by the removal of the requirement for superannuation funds to pay an advance instalment. Advance instalments previously determined were credited against assessments issued to superannuation funds in May 1999.
The surcharge is imposed on a member's surchargeable contributions. The amendments clarify the definition of "surchargeable contributions" and how they are calculated, so that trustees of superannuation funds can have certainty about what they need to report to the Australian Taxation Office.
Enhanced efficiency is achieved by:
- introducing a self assessment regime for specified superannuation funds;
- removing any doubt that surcharge applies to funds that are on a "contributions holiday";
- rationalising superannuation fund reporting requirements to members; and
- broadening the objection rights of superannuation funds and members.
This bill amends the Superannuation Contributions Tax (Members of Constitutionally Protected Superannuation Funds) Assessment and Collection Act 1997 to mirror the changes in the Superannuation Contributions Tax (Assessment and Collection) Act 1997 as far as they apply.
In addition, the amendments allow members of Constitutionally protected funds who rollover a benefit to another superannuation fund to direct the new fund to pay the amount in the surcharge debt account from the benefits rolled over.
This bill amends the Termination Payments Tax (Assessment and Collection) Act 1997 to reflect the changes to the other surcharge acts.
The bill amends also the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 to ensure that where a member of a superannuation fund commutes part of a pension to pay a surcharge debt, this commutation is not treated as an eligible termination payment for income tax purposes. This means that members of superannuation funds are treated in the same way as members in a Constitutionally protected fund.
Full details of the amendments in the bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.
I commend the bill.