House of Representatives

Tax Laws Amendment (2007 Measures No. 1) Bill 2007

Second Reading Speech

Mr Dutton (Dickson-Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer)

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill amends various taxation and superannuation laws to implement a range of changes and improvements to Australia's taxation system.

Schedule 1 amends the tax secrecy and disclosure law to allow the Commissioner of Taxation to disclose certain taxpayer information to officers in the Project Wickenby task force. It also allows this disclosure of information for similar task forces that may be established in the future. Project Wickenby is a multi-agency task force addressing tax avoidance and evasion involving the use of offshore entities. The amendments will enable agencies to better share information to aid concerted law enforcement, without compromising the general protection of taxpayer privacy.

As part of the 2006-07 budget, I announced that the ATO's responsiveness to superannuation guarantee inquiries would be improved.

Schedule 2 to this bill amends the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 to allow the Commissioner of Taxation to provide information to an employee in response to a complaint that an employer has not complied with its superannuation guarantee obligations. For example, this will allow employees to obtain more information on the progress of their inquiries about the nonpayment of superannuation guarantee contributions.

These changes are aligned with the findings and recommendations of both the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry, and the Senate Select Committee on Superannuation and Financial Services.

Schedule 3 amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and other taxation acts to extend the employee share scheme concessions to certain stapled securities. The amendments relate to stapled securities consisting of an ordinary share and another security that is attached or stapled to the share, provided the stapled security is listed for quotation on the official list of the Australian Securities Exchange. It also extends related capital gains tax and other relevant provisions.

Currently, when an employer does not have any unstapled ordinary shares on issue, it is difficult to provide employees with access to the employee share scheme concessions. This is because the components of a stapled security must be treated separately for certain taxation purposes-the share under the employee share scheme provisions, and the other security, such as a unit in a trust, under the fringe benefits tax provisions.

Full details of the measures in this bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Edwards) adjourned.