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Australian Senate Passes Key Tax Measures

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Australian Senate has passed a package of tax measures announced at the Budget that is expected to raise AUD1.5bn (USD1.02bn) over the next four years.

On November 25, the Senate passed the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2015 Measures No.5) Bill 2015.

The legislation provides for changes to the Zone Tax Offset to ensure that only taxpayers whose usual residence is in designated regional zones will be eligible for the offset. Fly-In-Fly-Out or Drive-In-Drive-Out workers who do not reside in the zones will not be able to claim the offset.

The legislation also introduces a AUD5,000 cap on entertainment benefits for employees of certain not-for-profit organizations. Affected employees will no longer be able to salary sacrifice an unlimited amount of remuneration on entertainment benefits without any tax implications. These concessions will now be reportable on an employee's payment summary. The method for calculating work-related car expense deductions will be modernized.

Finally, a new third-party reporting regime will be implemented to assist taxpayers with the preparation of returns and activity statements. The aim is to improve compliance by increasing the information reported to the Commissioner of Taxation. A range of entities will report information relating to Government grants and other payments, transfers of real property, shares and units in unit trusts, and business payments.

Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer said: "This legislation supports the Government's commitment to a fairer, simpler, and stronger tax system."