An omnibus tax bill has now been passed in Parliament, introducing a raft of measures that will impact businesses and individuals alike.
Tax debt disclosure, SG loophole bill passed
The Treasury Laws Amendment (2019 Tax Integrity and Other Measures No. 1) Bill 2019 has now been passed and is now awaiting royal assent.
Business tax debt disclosure
The bill contains a number of measures, including one that will now allow the ATO to disclose tax debt information to credit reporting bureaus.
Businesses that have one or more tax debts of at least $100,000 and have been overdue by more than 90 days could now see their tax debt information disclosed.
Entities that do not effectively engage the ATO in respect of the tax debt will be up for disclosure.
Tax debts will include income tax debts, activity statement debts, superannuation debts, fringe benefits tax debts, and penalties and interest charges.
The bill also contains a measure that will close a loophole by ensuring that an individual’s salary sacrifice contributions cannot be used to reduce an employer’s minimum SG contributions.
The new law will make it explicitly clear that employee salary sacrifices to superannuation cannot reduce an employer’s SG charge, and that SG is paid on the pre-salary sacrifice base.
It also specifies that an employee’s OTE base is comprised of their OTE and any amounts sacrificed into superannuation that would have been OTE, but for the salary sacrifice arrangement.
Limiting deductions for vacant land
A measure to limit deductions relating to vacant land has also passed, despite concerns from the industry over possible adverse ramifications.
The proposed measure comes as some taxpayers have been claiming deductions for costs associated with holding vacant land when it is not genuinely held for the purpose of gaining or producing assessable income.
Amendments to the measure have now been made to include exceptions for costs incurred by land an entity holds that is affected by a natural disaster or other unforeseeable events beyond their control; primary producers because of the ways in which many forms of primary production make use of land; and land being used for business purposes under arm’s length arrangements.
The bill also contains other measures that will deny access to the small business CGT concessions for Everett assignments and will extend anti-avoidance rules for circular trust distributions.