House of Representatives

Treasury Laws Amendment (2020 Measures No. 5) Bill 2020

Second Reading Speech

Mr SUKKAR (Deakin - Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Housing)

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Treasury Laws Amendment (2020 Measures No. 5) Bill 2020 builds on the government's broader support to Australian businesses and taxpayers and also implements an important diplomatic commitment to New Zealand.

Schedule 1 to the bill amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 to introduce a new legislative instrument making power into the income tax laws to make eligible state and territory coronavirus business grants free from income tax. As announced by the Prime Minister on 18 September 2020, this tax treatment will be extended to the Victorian government's coronavirus business grants announced on 13 September 2020.

Other states and territories will be able to apply for the same tax treatment where they have grant programs focussed on supporting small and medium businesses facing similarly exceptional circumstances.

Schedule 2 to the bill will improve the operation of the Trans-Tasman retirement savings portability arrangement established between Australia and New Zealand by allowing the ATO to transfer the unclaimed super of New Zealand residents directly to KiwiSaver funds.

This is a significant improvement to how the scheme operates for New Zealanders that have super in Australia. Prior to this amendment, New Zealanders with unclaimed super were unable to receive their superannuation directly from the ATO. Instead, they were required to open an Australian super account before requesting their super be transferred to their KiwiSaver account in New Zealand. Now, with these changes, New Zealanders will be able to apply directly to the ATO and have their fund transferred to their retirement savings account without further administrative burden.

This change also removes a source of unnecessary cost from the Australian super system by taking the burden off Australian funds to play the intermediary role in transferring these funds to New Zealand.

Finally, schedule 3 to the bill amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 to include Neighbourhood Watch Australasia Limited on the list of deductible gift recipients. Deductible gift recipient status allows members of the public to receive income tax deductions for the donations they make to this organisation

Full details of the measure are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

Debate adjourned.

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