Why worry about what is important when you can focus on the irrelevant?

Late last year the government indicated it was not going to continue with more than 60 “announced but unenacted” tax and super measures.

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But it is hard to keep people (and especially tax lobbyists) happy. Even while they applauded this announcement they started to scream… “But what if taxpayers have acted on these announced changes.” The argument has merit… Until you see what the government announced what it is not going ahead with.

Most are negative for the taxpayer, ridiculously technical or are so vague we never really understood what the government was going to do.

But rather than finally making the outstanding changes they have promised (please fix earnouts and the Small Business CGT Concessions… Please… Go on… Please… Seven years of having to advise on a badly drafted press release!!!) the government has taken the time to draft a solution to a non existent problem.

They have released draft legislation so that the Commissioner is prevented from amending income tax assessments reflecting self-assessed positions anticipating the impact of certain announced but discontinued measures in a way that meet the conditions set out in the law.

Further, taxpayers are taken to be entitled to payments made on the basis of income tax assessments reflecting such self-assessed positions.

First, out if the 60 changes the government announced it was not going ahead with, these new rules only apply to 13 announcements that are not going ahead – and of those 13 most are irrelevant.

To see how hard it is to find an actual situation where this draft law will apply, lets look through the list of examples the government gives us  in its 18 page explanatory memorandum…

There is just one…

The only example in the EM, and the only change that this will practically apply to, is the announcement to broaden relief for taxpayers affected by natural disasters where taxpayers participate in replacement asset programs after a natural disaster. So if you had a natural disaster, lost a CGT asset, replaced with another CGT asset and could not fit within the current rules (like the small business CGT rollover)… then this might be useful.

How many times will this happen???? And let me guess why the current government decided not to go ahead with this change… My guess is that it had so little practical effect.

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About Ken Mansell

As a stay at home Dad most of the week this is my way of pretending I am still the tax counsel of ASX and SEC listed companies, working at big 4 firms, working at the Federal Treasury, on the Henry Review and at Parliament House for the previous government.
This entry was posted in Legislation, Tax Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

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