Letter to Senator Cormann, Acting Assistant Treasurer on Earnouts

I had one of those “what are they doing” moments and sent this letter to the Government. I feel better now that I have written it but it won’t do anything… Come on Treasury, prove me wrong…

Senator,

Many thanks for all your efforts, and those of your staff and your department, in managing the revenue laws of this country.

I was hoping you could let me know the progress of the proposed changes the the CGT treatment of earn out arrangements.

In October 2007 the then Commissioner of Taxation released a draft ruling (Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2007/D10) on this issue. In 2010 the then Assistant Treasurer announced legislative changes (Media release no. 098/2010) to overcome some some consequences of the Commissioner’s position. In 2013 the then Assistant Treasurer confirmed they would continue with this proposed legislative change (Media release no. 008/2013).

In addition the Treasury released a discussion paper and had consultation in 2010 and the Commissioner has allowed taxpayers to apply the law in expectation of what it will be under these changes back to 2007 (strangely the Commissioner says taxpayers must amend if the way they expected the law to be drafted is not as it finally is even though a taxpayer can only amend returns for 4 year – so there is no way that could amend 2007-2009).

It is unreasonable and unsustainable (and somewhat unbelievable) that both taxpayers have had to act based on a press release for over seven year and that the Treasury have not been able to draft appropriate legislation in the past four years.

Can you please raise this with the appropriate staff at the Treasury, and if possible, can you let me, and the tax community, know when this long awaited change will be made.

Thank you.

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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.
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