Tax Facts

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  • Changed threshold intended for "small business entities" from 1 July 2016

    In brief:    A Bill has been introduced to increase the small business entity turnover threshold from $2M to $10M for most purposes (but not for the small business income tax offset, for which the turnover threshold is proposed to be $5M). The change is intended to apply from 1 July 2016 and will have a number of implications for small businesses, including imputation changes for companies that qualify as small business entities.

    More:    The proposed $10M turnover threshold is not to apply for accessing the small business CGT concessions – the existing $2M threshold will continue for that purpose. However, it is the new $10M threshold that will apply for the new small business restructure roll-over. In relation to the associated proposed reduction of the corporate tax rate to 27.5% for small business companies from 1 July 2016, it will no longer be possible to attach franking credits based on the 30% corporate rate. Instead, maximum franking is to be based on the particular company’s tax rate for the income year in which the distribution is paid, assuming that its turnover is the same as for the previous year.

    As set out in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill, the $10M small business entity threshold is intended to apply for a number of other small business concessions, including immediate deductibility for start-up expenses, simpler depreciation rules, simplified trading stock rules, immediate deductions for certain prepaid business expenses, accounting for GST on a cash basis, etc. [Treasury Laws Amendment (Enterprise Tax Plan) Bill 2016]

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    05 Oct 2016

    Topic: Income Tax/CGT/GST

  • A "scary" payroll tax decision

    In brief:    In this case, the individual trustees of an SMSF (a husband and wife) and the corporate trustee of related custodian trusts were included in a payroll tax group. Since each member of a group is jointly and severally liable for the payroll tax liabilities of all group members, those trustees faced substantial payroll tax debts for assessments on several operating entities in the group. In an application for judicial review, the Qld Supreme Court held that there was no legal error by the Commissioner in refusing an application to exclude the trustees from the relevant payroll tax group.

    More:    This matter illustrates the readiness of State Revenue Offices to utilise the very broad grouping provisions that apply for payroll tax purposes, although here there were dealings between the trustees and relevant operating entities that made it more difficult to establish that the trustees operated independently of the operating entities. It is somewhat counterintuitive that trustees of an SMSF and custodian trusts should be part of a payroll tax group, since they invariably do not carry on any business or engage workers. The Commissioner emphasised the definition in s 66 of the Payroll Tax Act 1971 (Qld), under which ‘business includes …. the carrying on of a trust, including a dormant trust’. And the Judge accepted that the breadth of intention of that provision would encompass a trustee merely holding assets as a bare trustee. That same definition appears in the payroll tax legislation of other States. (Scott and Bird v Commissioner of State Revenue [2016] QSC 132)

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    05 Oct 2016

    Topic: State Taxes

  • Building & development group succeeds in having $40M gain taxed as a discount capital gain

    In brief:    A family group with substantial building, property development and investment activities has successfully argued in the AAT that its $40M profit from the sale of a property was not a revenue gain. Rather, it was held to be a capital gain with the general 50% CGT discount consequently available. This was despite the sale having occurred within months of completion of the site’s redevelopment.

    More:    This decision emphasises the importance of properly characterising the activities from which any profit has arisen. The Tribunal accepted that, separately from the group’s building and development businesses, one of its discrete activities was the acquisition of commercial properties to hold for rental as capital assets. It was held that the relevant profit was derived from this activity and consequently was capital. This was supported by evidence from family members that was accepted by the Tribunal. (FLZY v Commissioner of Taxation [2016] AATA 348)

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    05 Oct 2016

    Topic: Income Tax/CGT