Guidelines for contractors and suppliers
The ATO has updated it guidance for ATO contractors and suppliers. It updating the guidance the ATO noted that “businesses and government agencies working with an ethical business relationship statement consistently achieve better results and reduce costs.
Employees’ Super
The ATO has reminded employers that super guarantee contributions for the December quarter are due by 28 January and emphasised the most recent changes to SG obligations, namely:

  • from 1 July 2022 the rate increased from 10% to 10.5%
  • employees no longer need to earn $450 per month to be eligible.

Lodging Payroll Tax Returns with the ATO?
The NSW opposition party has proposed a new tax reform whereby employers would lodge their payroll tax returns with the ATO through single-touch payroll rather than with Revenue NSW, as is currently the case.



The NSW Government’s principal housing policy to enable first home buyers to opt for an annual land tax over stamp duty took effect from yesterday, 16 January. Eligible first home buyers can now avoid upfront stamp duty from today in favour of a smaller annual fee on properties purchased up to $1.5 million, while those who’ve bought in the last two months can now apply for a refund.

TPB support for northern Queensland
The Tax Practitioners Board has announced support for tax practitioners and BAS agents in northern QLD are impacted by devastating floods. This comes in addition to the support the TPB is already providing to practitioners affected by floods in communities in WA, NSW and SA.

Dentist join doctors in payroll tax fight
Following on from the contentious and landmark Victorian Supreme Court of Appeal decision of Optical Superstore and then the more recent NCAT Appeals Division decision of Thomas and Naaz, as a result of which common operating structures within the medical industry may no longer be viable, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) is throwing its support behind the Australian Medical Association’s calls for an exemption to payroll tax.

“It would be illogical for dental practices to have to pay backdated payroll tax for dentists who come in and provide their skills via service agreements under their own ABN,” said ADA Federal President Dr Stephen Liew.



The ATO have advised that they are increasing the ways they use Single Touch Payroll (STP) data to simplify employer reporting obligations. When reporting pay as you go (PAYG) withholding via STP, the ATO will use the data to assist in preparing activity statements, enabling employers to ‘tell us once’.

More details are available here.
ATO’s Serious Financial Crime Taskforce
The ATO’s Serious Financial Crime Taskforce is an ATO-led joint-agency taskforce that tackles the most serious forms of financial crime. The current focus of the SFCT is on:

  • cybercrime (technology enabled crime) affecting the tax and superannuation systems
  • offshore tax evasion
  • illegal phoenix activity
  • serious financial crime affecting the ATO-administered measures of the Commonwealth Coronavirus Economic Response Package.

ATO’s New Year’s Resolutions
The ATO have released their New Year’s resolutions and there is not a gym in sight. According to the ATO the 5 new year’s resolutions to keep if you want to stay on top of your tax and super in 2023 are:

  • Know if you’re in business or not!
  • Keep your business details and registrations up to date!
  • Keep accurate and complete records!
  • Work out if Personal Services Income (PSI) rules apply to you!
  • Look after yourself!



ATO foreign investment support
As part of foreign investment reforms a new Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets will be introduced on 1 July 2023.
From 26 June 2023 the ATO’s online service, Online services for foreign investors, will be available. Taxpayers will be able to use this service to manage a range of foreign investment obligations online, including:

  • applying for residential approval
  • registering assets
  • updating details
  • lodging vacancy fee returns.

Meanwhile in America…
As part of the deal that enabled Californian Republican Kevin McCarthy to become the speaker of the House, a vote will be allowed on a bill to abolish the US Internal Revenue Service and institute a “Fair Tax” that would replace federal income taxes and other taxes with a national consumption tax administered by the US states.

On Monday the House Republicans had already voted to strip roughly $71 billion from the IRS budget. Funds that had been ear-marked to help the agency find and pursue tax cheats.

Client-to-agent linking in online services
As reported by Philip King in today’s accountantsdaily, the professional bodies that are members of the Tax Practitioner Stewardship Group (TPSG), of which the Institute of Financial Professionals Australia is one, will meet with the ATO for further discussions around the most appropriate process for the client-to-agent linking in online services to be rolled out to small businesses and individual taxpayers.

The client-to-agent linking process originally commenced in June 2022, as reported in our Daily Update of 21 June and 7 December.



Agent-client linking
As reported in yesterday’s Daily Update the Institute of Financial Professionals Australia together with other associations, met with the ATO yesterday to continue the discussion around agent-client linking.

The ATO’s privacy and security concerns are warranted, particularly considering the recent public data breaches that have occurred. The Institute of Financial Professionals Australia supports additional privacy and security measures being taken that complement other client verification practices. And for sophisticated taxpayers/clients, the new client-to-agent linking process should not be too burdensome. However, this may not be the experience for many other taxpayers/clients – with agents having to wear the often-non-recoverable cost of compliance.

We look forward to continuing our work with the other associations and with the ATO to find a solution which is a better fit for SME and individual taxpayers, and their advisors.

Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) Registers Reform
Treasury yesterday released exposure draft legislation and accompanying explanatory material around proposed legislation to transfers administration of four unique DGR categories to the Commissioner of Taxation. These unique DGR categories are currently administered by other government agencies. This change is intended to make all DGR categories consistent in administration, reduce red tape imposed on endorsed organisations, and simplify the application process for organisations seeking DGR status.

The consultation period for the proposed legislation closes on 19 February 2023.

Grants and tax
The ATO yesterday reminded taxpayers to be aware of the possibility that business grants received may be assessable income.

For a grant to be non-assessable non-exempt (NANE) income in accordance with section 59-97 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, it needs to be declared as such by the Federal Treasurer by way of a legislative instrument. The current version of the legislative instrument can be found here. Grants not listed are not NANE.




Weekly Updates