House of Representatives

Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2018

Second Reading Speech

Mr SUKKAR (Assistant Minister to the Treasurer)

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

In summing up the Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2018, I will say that this further delivers on this government's agenda to address multinational tax avoidance, ensures that the small-business capital gains tax concessions are appropriately targeted, ensures that we have the policy settings in order to foster innovation and makes the taxation of Defence abuse repatriation payments fairer. Schedule 1 of this bill demonstrates again our ongoing commitment to tackling multinational tax avoidance by further preventing large multinationals from avoiding tax on their Australian business profits through artificially structuring their affairs, which ultimately amounts to taxable income not being captured in the Australian tax net. The amendments contained in schedule 1 ensure that the multilateral anti-tax-avoidance law, which targets these egregious practices, will continue to operate as intended and deliver on the government's commitment to improving the integrity of Australia's tax system, which ultimately benefits all Australians.

Schedule 2 of the bill amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 to improve the integrity of the tax system and ensure that the small-business CGT concessions are appropriately targeted. These amendments give effect to the government's 2017-18 budget announcement that, from 1 July 2017, the concessions can only be accessed in relation to assets used in a small business or ownership interests in a small business. The key feature of the amendments is to test the size of the business being disposed of, to prevent inappropriate access to the concessions for assets unrelated to a small business. This ensures that these important concessions continue to benefit those who need them most, which are hardworking small businesses.

The government is committed to establishing Australia as a leading global fin-tech hub. When I spoke at the fin-tech futures forum in Melbourne last week, the government were certainly congratulated on the work and support that we're providing fin-techs. Therefore, schedule 3 of this bill builds on our work to ensure that we have the policy settings best in place to foster this sort of innovation. Accordingly, schedule 3 amends the early stage venture capital limited partnership, venture capital limited partnership and tax incentives for early stage investor regimes of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. This clarifies that early stage venture capital limited partnerships and venture capital limited partnerships can invest in innovative fintech businesses, removes ambiguity from the tax law, and provides certainty for venture capital investors. Again, we believe that this demonstrates the government's continuing commitment to promoting a culture of entrepreneurship and risk taking in Australia and will help ensure innovative Australian businesses have access to the capital and, importantly, the expertise that they need to grow and succeed in this very competitive area.

In the 2017-18 budget the government announced it would expand the role of the Defence Force Ombudsman to make recommendations for reparation payments. All complaints about abuse in the Defence Force made to the Defence Force Ombudsman will now include an assessment for a reparation payment. Similar reparation payments were previously administered by the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, which concluded on 31 August 2016. Reparation payments made by the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce were specifically exempt from income tax. Schedule 4 of this bill therefore ensures that the new reparation payments recommended by the Defence Force Ombudsman are exempt from income tax. Reparation payments are not intended to be compensation, and complainants will not be required to release the Commonwealth from any liability. Schedule 4 ensures the recipient of a reparation payment receives the full benefit of the payment and, importantly, is free from the obligation to pay income tax on it. Therefore, I commend this bill to the House.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Goodenough): The original question was that this bill be now read a second time. To this the honourable member for Kingsford Smith has moved as an amendment that all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The immediate question is that the amendment be agreed to.

Question negatived.

Original question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.