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Spry Roughley Articles

Budget personal tax cuts and business concessions now law

The Treasury Laws Amendment (A Tax Plan for the COVID-19 Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 received Royal Assent on 14 October 2020 as Act No 92 of 2020. It implements several tax announcements from the 2020 Federal Budget.

Importantly, the Act brings the personal tax cuts (Stage 2) forward to 1 July 2020. From that date, the top threshold of the 19% personal income tax bracket is increased from $37,000 to $45,000. The top threshold of the 32.5% tax bracket is increased from $90,000 to $120,000. The Act also brings forward to 2020–2021 the increase in the low income tax offset (up to $700). The low and middle income tax offset (up to $1,080) is retained for 2020–2021. Read more…

Working from home “shortcut” deduction extended

The ATO has updated Practical Compliance Guideline PCG 2020/3 to extend the availability of the "shortcut" 80 cents per hour rate for claiming work from home running expenses. This shortcut deduction rate will now be available until at least 31 December 2020 (it was previously extended to 30 September 2020).  Read more…

JobKeeper decline in turnover tests

On 21 October 2020, the ATO issued an addendum to Law Companion Ruling LCR 2020/1 on the JobKeeper decline in turnover test. The ruling has been updated to make it clear that it covers the original test (introduced by the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Rules 2020) and does not include guidance on applying the "actual decline in turnover" test (which is an additional requirement for JobKeeper fortnights from 28 September 2020). The ruling has also been amended to reflect legislative changes made to the original test by the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No 8) 2020. Read more…

Data-matching program: apprentices and trainees

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) has commenced a new ongoing data-matching program with the ATO in relation to the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees (SAT) measure. The program seeks to confirm the eligibility of employers receiving the subsidy, as well as stamp out any potential double-dipping of government assistance. It is estimated that around 117,000 apprentices and trainees and more than 70,000 employers could be affected. Read more…

Small business tax options during COVID-19: ATO reminder

The ATO has reminded businesses impacted by COVID-19 that they have a range of tax options to consider, including claiming a deduction for any losses. Read more…

Insolvency reforms announced for small businesses

The Government has announced that it will introduce insolvency reforms to help small businesses restructure in response to COVID-19. Key elements of the reforms include: Read more…

JobKeeper payments satisfy “work test” for super contributions

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has published a new frequently asked question (FAQ) on the interaction between JobKeeper payments and satisfying the "work test" for the purpose of voluntary superannuation contributions. Read more…

SMSF asset valuations: concession during COVID-19

The ATO has advised that it will not apply a penalty for self managed super fund (SMSF) trustees that have difficulty in obtaining evidence to support market valuations of assets due to COVID-19.  Read more…

Digital AGMs and signatures: legislative determination

The Government has registered the Corporations (Coronavirus Economic Response) Determination (No 3) 2020, which extends until March 2021 the ability for companies to convene annual general meetings (AGMs) and other Corporations Act 2001 prescribed meetings entirely online. Read more…

COVID-19 and FBT: updated ATO advice

The ATO has updated its COVID-19 and fringe benefits tax (FBT) information webpage, providing a really useful outline of some issues that may arise due to an employer's response to COVID-19. There are likely to be some pandemic-related benefits currently provided that may not otherwise have been of consideration; for example, some employers may now be presented with FBT issues for the first time. Read more…

ATO updates on new JobKeeper arrangements

The ATO has released a somewhat dazzling array of new and updated information sheets addressing the changes to JobKeeper. Read more…

Extended COVID-19 support and relief measures

JobKeeper extension Bill passed

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Jobkeeper Payments) Amendment Bill 2020 received Royal Assent on 3 September 2020 as Act No 81 of 2020. This followed the House of Representatives agreeing to the six Government amendments passed by the Senate on 1 September 2020. Those minor Senate amendments apply to the Fair Work measures in Sch 2 of the Bill.  Read more…

Super choice of fund and enterprise agreements Bill passed

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Your Superannuation, Your Choice) Bill 2019 received Royal Assent on 3 September 2020. The changes the Bill makes will extend the super "choice of fund" regime to employees covered by enterprise agreements and workplace determinations made from 1 January 2021 (revised from 1 July 2020). Read more…

Super guarantee amnesty now closed

The ATO has reminded employers that the superannuation guarantee (SG) amnesty closed on 7 September 2020. The amnesty enabled employers to self-correct historical SG underpayments, without incurring the normal penalties, for SG shortfalls from 1 July 1992 until 31 March 2018.  Read more…

ASIC grants hardship relief for withdrawals from frozen funds

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced new relief measures for operators of managed funds to facilitate withdrawals by members who are facing financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Read more…

JobKeeper changes: turnover test and employment start date

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced further changes to JobKeeper on 7 August 2020. The changes are intended to ensure that eligibility for the revised JobKeeper scheme – to commence on 28 September 2020 – will be based on a single quarter tax period, rather than multiple quarters as previously announced. Employees hired as at 1 July 2020 will now also be eligible to receive JobKeeper.  Read more…

JobKeeper reference date now 1 July 2020: Statutory Rules made

The Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No 7) 2020, registered on 14 August 2020, changed the JobKeeper employment reference date to 1 July 2020 (from 1 March 2020) for determining employee eligibility, with effect from 3 August 2020. The amending rules commenced on 15 August 2020 and apply to JobKeeper fortnights that began on or after 3 August 2020; that is, they are retrospective.  Read more…

PM announces pandemic leave disaster payment for Victoria

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on 3 August 2020 a "disaster payment" in the form of a pandemic leave disaster payment. The payment will be one-off amount of $1,500, available to workers in Victoria who have no sick leave available who have to self-isolate for 14 days as a result of an instruction by a public health officer. Read more…

Loans put on hold and debt forgiveness: ATO’s views

The ATO has "clarified" its position on loans put on hold during COVID-19. The ATO will consider a debt to be forgiven for tax purposes if:

  • the debtor is somehow relieved from the legal obligation to repay it; or
  • there is evidence that the creditor won't insist on repayment or rely on the obligation for repayment. Read more…

Residency and source of income in the COVID-19 era

The ATO has issued an update on residency and source of income. It deals with issues from the perspectives of an Australian resident and a foreign resident in the context of a change of residency due to COVID-19.  Read more…

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