Legislative changes in the pipeline – September 22

The new Labor government has wasted no time in introducing a raft of legislative changes in relation to previously abandoned measures and to implement its various election promises covering businesses, individuals and superannuation.

Businesses

The reporting regime for electronic platform operators in the sharing economy has made a return appearance. This measure would require any electronic platform operators that facilitates a supply that is connected to Australia for a consideration between the entities (other than when ownership of goods is permanently changed) to report information about the transaction to the ATO. This was originally a recommendation of the Black Economy Taskforce to reduce tax compliance risks and was introduced again but not passed during the previous government’s term. When passed, it is expected to apply to the supply of taxi travel and short-term accommodation from 1 July 2023, and to all other transactions from 1 July 2024.

Within the same Bill, the government also revived a lapsed measure to enable small business entities to apply to the Small Business Taxation Division of the AAT for an order staying the operation or implementation of certain decisions of the Commissioner that are being reviewed by the AAT (including debt recovery action). This measure seeks to reduce the cost to small businesses of having to apply to a Court for a stay and will apply to applications for review made on or after the day after the Bill receives Assent.

Another lapsed measure which has been brought back is to give the ATO the power to direct a business entity to complete an approved record-keeping course in lieu of imposing penalties for failing to comply with record-keeping obligations in some circumstances. The Commissioner will be able to issue a tax-records education direction to an entity 3 months after the day the measure receives Assent.

Individuals

For individuals, the removal of the $250 threshold to claim self-education expenses is back on the cards. While self-education expenses are generally deductible if there is a sufficient connection with the taxpayer’s income producing activities, the amount of deduction is currently limited by s 82A of the ITAA so that only the excess over $250 may be deductible. This measure was previously introduced during the last government but the Bill was put on hold when the Senate was prorogued due to the election. When passed by Parliament, this measure will apply from the 2022-23 income year.

Superannuation

The measure to give effect to the government’s election promise of reducing the age of eligibility to make downsizer contributions into super from 60 to 55, has been introduced. Note that all other eligibility requirements to make the downsizer contribution will remain the same. According to the government, this will allow greater flexibility for older Australians to contribute to their super and may encourage individuals to downsize sooner to a home that better suits their needs, thereby freeing up the stock of larger homes for families. It will apply to contributions made from the first quarter after Assent to the Bill.

The government has also reintroduced the measure to make amendments associated with the transition of super-related complaints from the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), including transfer of records and documents. It will apply the day after the measure receives Assent.

Speak to one of our accountants today if you have any questions or need assistance with any of these legislative changes.