Inbound tour operators and collecting, and remitting, GST
A draft “practical compliance guideline” from the ATO deals with the requirement for “inbound tour operators” to collect and remit GST.
An inbound tour operator is an Australian entity that enters into agreements with non-residents to arrange the supply of Australian tour packages (that can include accommodation and non- accommodation components).
Whether GST is required to be remitted on these supplies depends on whether they are acting as an agent or principal. If they act as an agent of the non-resident, any commission charged to the non-resident will be GST-free as it is an export. If they act as principal, the entire supply (which includes mark-up or a profit margin) may be subject to GST as they are providing the service to be used in Australia. […]
At the end of 2017, an annual fee was introduced for dwellings owned by non-residents of Australia. The measure is part of the government’s housing affordability plan, and is also a financial incentive for foreign owners to make their dwelling available for rent and increase available housing in Australia.
Under the legislation, foreign owners of residential dwellings in Australia are required to pay an annual vacancy fee if their dwelling is not residentially occupied or rented out for more than 183 days (six months) in a year.
The “vacancy year” is not a calendar or financial year, but starts from when the owner first held their interest in the dwelling. The fee is paid by lodging a “vacancy fee return” with the ATO, which is required within 30 days after the end of the vacancy year. […]
The government has already announced, as part of the 2018-19 federal budget in May, that it will decrease the scope of allowable deductions for expenses stemming from holding vacant land that is intended to be used for residential or commercial purposes. The measure will apply from 1 July 2019. (See page 42 of the federal budget paper.)
The announcement was couched as an integrity measure to address concerns that deductions are being improperly claimed for expenses, such as interest costs, related to holding vacant land, especially where this land is not being “genuinely held” for the purpose of earning assessable income. It is also intended to reduce the tax incentives for “land banking”, which can limit the availability of land for housing or other developments. […]
Could trust splitting soon result in increased tax obligations?
A draft taxation determination released recently has triggered some alarm among trustees that certain previously benign trust re-arrangements may soon lead to new tax obligations being attached.
TD 2018/D3 posits that certain trust split arrangements should be viewed as the creation of a new trust over some, but not all, of the assets held by the original trust. The result, as set out in the TD, would be to trigger CGT event E1.
While the draft determination allows that there are many forms of arrangement that can be described as a “trust split”, it says that for the purposes of the change to the rules, this refers to an arrangement “where the parties to an existing trust functionally split the operation of the trust so that some trust assets are controlled by and held for the benefit of one class of beneficiaries, and other trust assets are controlled and held for the benefit of others”. […]
The tax rates that apply to income a deceased estate declares depend on the period of time after the person’s death.
First three income years
For the first three income years, the deceased estate income is taxed at individual income tax rates, with the benefit of the full tax-free threshold, but without the tax offsets (concessional rebates), such as the low-income tax offset. No Medicare levy is payable.
You cannot extend this concessional period of three tax years. […]
Vehicle’s ‘private use’ for FBT gets some wriggle room — up to a point
The ATO has made a change to the FBT rules, set to take affect for the 2019 FBT year and beyond, that will give businesses that supply employees with motor vehicles (that are not cars) a prescriptive method to apply to get an exemption to FBT. It is a change from the objective test that has been in place.
Generally, a fringe benefit arises where an employer makes a vehicle they hold available for the private use of an employee. Under the car-related exemptions of the FBT rules, a fringe benefit is an exempt benefit where the private use of vehicles is limited to work-related travel and other private use that is “minor, infrequent and irregular”.
The ATO’s practical compliance guideline on the matter says there has been demonstrated inconsistency in the application of exemptions, leading to additional compliance costs, especially where private travel is relatively low.
“To reduce these compliance costs and provide certainty, this draft guideline explains when the Commissioner will not apply compliance resources to determine if private use of the vehicle was limited for the purposes of the car-related exemptions,” the PCG says. […]
The ATO requires SMSF trustees to use the superannuation transfer balance account report (TBAR) to advise it when a transfer balance account event occurs. It uses this information to adjust a fund member’s transfer balance account so it can correctly apply the transfer balance cap provisions.
SMSF trustees are required to report the following events:
super income streams in existence just before 1 July 2017
any of the following events that occur on or after 1 July 2017
super income streams that have commenced in retirement phase
limited recourse borrowing arrangement payments
compliance with a commutation authority issued by the Commissioner
personal injury (structured settlement) contributions
super income streams that stop being in the retirement phase, for example because the trustee failed to meet the minimum pension payment standards for an income stream.
Tax Time toolkit
The ATO been working with a small, diverse group of tax agents to develop a suite of resources for you and your clients this tax time. The Tax Time Toolkit includes information about car expenses, clothing and laundry, working from home, self-education and much more. See what’s available here. […]