The Senate’s draft legislation program for the sitting days on Tuesday and Wednesday shows that there are a number of notable bills absent for debate.
The bill containing the SG amnesty measure, which would give employers an opportunity to rectify historical SG non-compliance without penalty, has not been scheduled for debate, effectively ending any hope of the bill getting passed before its 23 May 2019 amnesty expiry date.
“We are nearly at the end of the 12 month amnesty period. The bigger issue will be the employers who in good faith have made disclosures – they may face some outcomes under the tax law that they didn’t expect and then we’ve got the group of employers who haven’t come forward and they can expect the full force of the law if and when the ATO catches up with them,” TaxBanter senior tax trainer Robyn Jacobson said.
Likewise, the bill proposing to deny the main residence exemption to non-residents has been left off the program, a move hinted at last month by Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert who quipped, “sometimes things get announced and don’t get progressed and it’s just best to leave it that way”.
Ms Jacobson said it would be a welcome relief to see the bill lapsed considering the number of issues identified by the industry.
“It has been well-documented that there are a number of technical issues with the bill that has been drafted and it should not proceed in its current form,” she said.
“If the bill lapses then it would be up to a future government to decide whether they would want to resurrect the policy and if that does happen, it would necessitate a fresh round of consultation which would be very welcomed.”
The omnibus bill containing measures to amend the R&D tax offset has also been left off the Senate schedule, following the recommendation from the Senate Economics Legislation Committee for the government to reconsider its approach.
“There is also no sign of any Div 7A amending legislation. It is anticipated that there might be an announcement during the federal budget but certainly there is no possibility we are going to see the release of draft legislation and that they will introduce it to parliament in the next two days and that brings the 1 July 2019 start date into question,” Ms Jacobson said.
Bills set for debate
The government’s plan to increase the threshold for the instant asset write-off to $25,000 from 29 January 2019 to 30 June 2020 will be considered over the two days.
The current threshold of $20,000 will revert to $1,000 on 1 July 2019, if the proposed bill fails to go through.
On the superannuation side, the bill proposing to increase the SMSF member limit to six will be set for debate.
This comes after the Senate Economics Legislation Committee recommended that the move be allowed, despite strong opposition from Labor senators.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.