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Latest Tax Law Changes

Impact of Latest Tax Law Changes

The recent changes introduced In the Treasury Laws Amendment (Making Multinationals Pay Their Fair Share – Integrity and Transparency) Bill 2023 and Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Accountability and Fairness) Bill 2023 have sparked significant discussions and debates among economists, businesses, and policymakers alike. This article delves into the nuances of the latest changes and their far-reaching impacts on various sectors of the economy. Understanding these amendments is crucial for anyone navigating the complex landscape of financial regulations and economic policies. As we explore the intricate details of the amendments, we aim to provide a comprehensive analysis of their implications, offering insights into how these changes will reshape the fiscal and regulatory environment. From tax implications to compliance requirements, this article is your go-to guide for grasping the essence and consequences of the latest changes to tax laws.

The “Treasury Laws Amendment (Making Multinationals Pay Their Fair Share – Integrity and Transparency) Bill 2023″ has been reviewed by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee which has now recommended that the Bill be passed by Parliament. This pivotal legislation, introduced to Parliament on 22 June 2023, is part of a concerted effort to enhance financial transparency and fairness among multinational corporations and also implements the “new” thin capitalisation regime that is proposed to apply from 1 July 2023.

The passage of the Bill through Parliament and the various Senate Committee Reports can be accessed here.

Key to the Bill’s progress are the Senate changes recommended for ensuring the effective operation of the new thin capitalisation rules. These amendments are thoroughly discussed in our November Monthly Tax Update Discussion. The proposed changes were first shared as an exposure draft in October 2023 for public consultation. The feedback received was instrumental in refining the amendments, which have now been integrated into the final version of the Bill. This updated Bill was returned to the Senate Committee for further assessment and the Committee presented its final report on 5 February 2024 (which recommended that the Bill be passed), preceding the resumption of both Houses of Parliament on 6 February 2024. 

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Accountability and Fairness) Bill encompasses a series of significant legislative changes, often referred to as the “2024 Tax Accountability and Fairness Amendments.” This Bill is a direct response to the aftermath of the PwC tax leaks scandal and primarily focuses on refining various tax rules which regulate the behaviour of tax agents.

In the wake of the PwC tax leak scandal, the Bill proposes to make the following changes:

Under Schedule 1, the “Promoter Penalty Law Updates” involve substantial amendments to the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (TAA 1953). These amendments are designed to extend the time the ATO has to initiate civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court and also increase the maximum penalties applicable for promoters of tax schemes where significant global entities are involved (i.e. 10% of global turnover / $762,500,000)

The Bill also plans to extend whistleblower protections, as outlined in Schedule 2. This extension will provide protections to eligible whistleblowers who make disclosures to the Tax Practitioners Board (the TPB), among others. The burden of proof for certain protection claims under Part IVD of the TAA 1953 will also be reversed.

Schedule 3 forms part of the “Australian Tax Law Revisions Post-PwC Leak,” aiming to enhance the TPB’s register and boost its investigative powers. The proposed amendments are designed to increase the published information on the TPB register and extend the TPB’s timeframe for conducting investigations.

The commencement of Schedules 1, 2, and 3 is slated for the later of 1 July 2024 or the first day of the quarter following Royal Assent. The expanded timeframe for TPB investigations will apply to ongoing investigations at the time of commencement.

Schedule 4, commencing the day after Royal Assent, will amend the TAA 1953 and the TAS Act. It allows for the sharing of protected information in relation to misconduct related to breaches of confidence between taxation officers, TPB officials, the Treasury and various disciplinary bodies.

Finally, Schedule 5 addresses the deduction caps for taxpayers in the offshore LNG industry. The capping of deductions for offshore LNG projects effectively brings forward the petroleum resource rent tax liabilities for these projects. 

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Tax Accountability and Fairness) Bill represents a comprehensive response to recent challenges in the tax domain, ensuring transparency, fairness, and improved governance of tax practitioners. 

For any enquiries related to this update, contact us today.

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