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Tax avoidance taskforce

The Government will invest a further $650m into the ATO’s Tax Avoidance taskforce over FY24 and FY25 to extend the operation of the taskforce for an additional two year period. 

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The ATO’s Tax Avoidance taskforce has been in place for 6 years. Since 1 July 2016, its activities have resulted in the raising of $22.9 billion in liabilities against public groups, multinationals, wealthy individuals and associated private groups (including trusts and promoters), with the collection of over $15.9 billion in cash.

There are various groups targeted for review by the taskforce, including the Top 500 Taxpayers, Top 1000 large public groups and the Next 5000 Private Groups program.

The Government will invest a further $650m into the ATO’s Tax Avoidance taskforce over FY24 and FY25 to extend the operation of the taskforce for an additional two year period. This renewed focus is expected to increase receipts by $2.1 billion in a three year period.

As a result, we are likely to see increased ATO review activity of multinationals, large private groups and high wealth individuals.

Fuel Excise Reduction

As a centrepiece of the Budget, the Treasurer announced a temporary reduction in the fuel excise, halving the excise from the current 44.2 cents per litre to 22.1 cents per litre.

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The measure is estimated to cost the Government $2.65 billion in the 2022 and 2023 financial years and is designed to alleviate costs of living pressures to households.

The reduction extends to petrol and all other fuel and petroleum-based products except aviation fuels.

The measure will commence from 12.01am on 30 March 2022 and will remain in place for 6 months, ending at 11.59pm on 28 September 2022.

Enhanced sharing of single touch payroll data

The Government has announced that it will enhance the sharing of single touch payroll (“STP”) with State and Territory revenue authorities.

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It will do this by investing $6.6 million into developing IT infrastructure and will work with states and territories that will make similar investments in their own systems and processes.

The STP is a system where employers report various information on their employees each time an employer pays the employees using STP-enabled software. The reporting covers such items as salary and wages, PAYG withholding amounts and superannuation. It reduces compliance costs as it ensures that employers only need to report the data just once. It also assists the tax authorities, as it eases up the tracking of data and the use in several areas.

This measure will ensure that data provided to the Federal Government will be consistent with that used by state and territory governments when assessing payroll taxes.

COVID-19 testing

Effective 1 July 2021, the costs for businesses where COVID-19 tests are provided to employees for testing required attend a place of work will not be subject to FBT.

Taxable Payment Annual Reporting (TPAR)

The Taxable Payment Annual Reporting (TPAR) requires Australian businesses to report to the ATO payments made to contractors in the building and construction, cleaning, road-freight/courier, IT services and security services industries.

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The TPAR is lodged via a specified form issued by the ATO, and must be filed annually by 28 August each year based on a 30 June reporting cycle.

The TPAR reporting requirements are intended to be simplified with effect from 1 January 2024, such that impacted businesses will be able to report this data electronically via the activity statement process.

Reducing Regulatory Burden of Australia’s Foreign Investment Framework

In response to the review of the 2021 foreign investment reforms, the Government will amend Australia’s foreign investment regulations. These amendments are aimed at reducing the regulatory burden through providing clarification of certain aspects, and streamlining some less sensitive types of investment. 

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The amendments include:

  • Increasing the control threshold for foreign persons who acquire an interest in an unlisted Australian land entity from 5% to 10%. This aligns the control thresholds for listed and unlisted Australian land entities.
  • Introducing an exemption for acquisitions of interest in securities where the proportionate share or unit holding of a person does not increase as a result of the person’s acquisition.
  • Clarify that foreign persons who acquire additional securities in an Australian entity under a rights issue do not require further approval as long as it is a voluntary, pro-rata rights issue under the Corporations Act 2001 (or a law of a foreign country or part of a foreign country).

Employee share schemes

There will be a reduction in disclosure requirements under the Corporations Act for employee share schemes where each participant pays:

  • No more than $30,000 per year to acquire the interests (accruable for unexercised options for up to 5 years); or
  • An unlimited amount where the participant can immediately profit from a planned sale or listing of a company. However, no corresponding easing of the tax rules were announced.
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This measure relates to Corporations Act requirements and does not change the tax treatment of employee share schemes.

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