Draft legislation: Government’s response to the review of the TPB
The Government is seeking stakeholders’ views on exposure draft legislation on the recommendations of the review into the effectiveness of the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (TASA). The proposed amendments to the TASA are intended to enhance community confidence, increase the independence and effectiveness of the TPB, and support high standards in the tax profession whilst streamlining the regulation of tax practitioners. Views are due by 11 December 2022.

Tax treaty network expansion – submissions sought
Treasury is seeking submissions from stakeholders to support the expansion of Australia’s tax treaties network. The Government is entering into new tax treaty negotiations as part of its expansion of Australia’s tax treaty network. Negotiations are planned with Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as announced in the Assistant Minister’s media release. Submissions are sought on the key outcomes Australia should seek in negotiating these tax treaties and any other issues related to Australia’s tax treaty network. Submissions are due by 23 December 2022.

ACT: COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Scheme declared NANE income
On Thursday 17th the Treasurer, by way of legislative instrument, released an amendment to the Income Tax Assessment (Eligible State and Territory COVID‑19 Economic Recovery Grant Programs) Declaration 2020. The amendment includes the Australian Capital Territory COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Scheme in the list of eligible State and Territory small business COVID‑19 grant programs. As a result, payments received under this grant program are now non-assessable non-exempt income for tax purposes. Applications for the COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Scheme closed at 11.50pm AEDST on Friday 4 March 2022. If amounts were received under the scheme on or before 30 June 2022 and these grant payments have already been included in the recipient’s income tax return for 2021-22, an amendment to that return may be necessary.

ATO: SAN misuse mailout – update
The ATO has advised that its latest SMSF auditor number (SAN) misuse mailout was in October 2022 and that it has already received information from SMSF auditors that their auditor details may have been misused in recently lodged SMSF annual returns (SARs). As part of our follow-up, the ATO said that it will be contacting tax agents and trustees in the next few weeks to ask for more information about the audit of specific SMSFs where it have been informed that the auditor listed in a SAR did not complete the audit.