Australian Government Releases Forward Work Programme
Monday, March 1, 2010
Australia’s Assistant Treasurer, Nick Sherry, has today released the
government's updated forward work programme, which outlines the consultation
process for announced tax and superannuation measures, with a proposed schedule
of reforms to be introduced in the current sittings of parliament.
The government publishes a forward work programme for announced tax measures
at regular intervals during the year. Measures announced by the previous government,
but which were not enacted, are included on the forward work programme as the
government decides how or whether they should proceed.
"The publication of a forward work programme for tax measures provides
greater transparency in the tax design process," Sherry said. "It
allows for a more inclusive and meaningful consultation process with taxpayers
and tax professionals."
"This forward work programme shows the government is consulting with the
community as it gets on with the job of tax reform," he added. "Measures
to be introduced in the current sittings of parliament are aimed at improving
the operation of tax integrity rules."
Measures to be tabled or included in the remaining parliamentary sittings of
2010, which have gone through their consultative process, include reforms to
the goods and services law to make a number of changes to the legal framework
for the administration of the GST to reduce taxpayer compliance costs and to
streamline and remove anomalies in the law.
Other measures to be introduced shortly are intended to extend the operation
of the tax regulations to cover circumstances where a shareholder or associate
is permitted to use company assets for free or at a discounted rate; and also
extend the tax file number withholding tax requirements to closely held trusts
and family trusts to ensure the beneficiaries of these trusts pay their fair
share of tax on income from these trusts.
Measures to be introduced at later sittings encompass a reform of the tourist
refund scheme; an amendment to the non-commercial loan rules to prevent private
companies paying tax-free dividends to their shareholders; and a replacement
of the research and development (R&D) tax concession with a simplified R&D
tax credit. The government is also to canvass options to consolidate, streamline
and improve the operation of the tax provisions designed to counter anti-avoidance.