ABF officer not entitled to s 23AG exemption for foreign income
The AAT has ruled that an Australian Border Force (ABF) officer who was seconded to the PNG Customs Service on a temporary basis was not entitled to the exemption for overseas employment income under s 23AG of the ITAA 1936. This was because he was not a member of a “disciplined force” as required. The AAT found that the term “disciplined force” applied to defence and police forces (and the like), but not to ABF officers. The AAT further said that the key factor that “distinguishes military and police forces as ‘disciplined forces’ is that each member of that force is under a legal obligation to comply with any lawful directions of any superior officer in the hierarchy” and that this was not the case in respect of ABF officers who were not under such an obligation. (Willard and FCT [2022] AATA 3723, 2 September 2022.)

Government “objective” for superannuation
The Government has confirmed it will legislate an objective for superannuation and will also address the superannuation tax concessions for high balance funds. The Government made reference to 32 SMSFs with more than $100m in assets, with the largest SMSF having over $400 million in assets. The view is that the objective of superannuation is to provide for retirement income but if individuals have very large retirement balances in a superannuation fund, it is hard to argue those funds are all for retirement income. The Government has confirmed it will firstly focus on implementing an objective for superannuation before making other policy decisions around the taxation of superannuation.

ATO: Insolvency advice and illegal phoenix activity
The ATO has updated its advice to taxpayers around businesses that are insolvent or struggling to pay their debts and the importance of seeking specialist advice from a qualified and registered insolvency practitioners as soon as they can. However, it warned that such businesses should be wary of inappropriate insolvency advice that could lead to illegal phoenixing activity.