Measures No 1 Bill 2023 introduced: Various tax and other amendments
The Treasury Laws Amendment (2023 Measures No 1) Bill 2023 was introduced into Parliament this morning [Thursday 16 February 2023]. The measures in the Bill will:

  • amend the Corporations Act to allow: (a) ASIC to approve applications from one or more licensees to register on the Financial Advisers Register the same relevant provider; and (b) allow assisted decision-making to be used for any purpose for which ASIC may make decisions in the performance or exercise of ASIC’s  functions or powers to register a relevant provider. (Date of effect: from the day after Royal Assent);
  • provide the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) with functions to develop and formulate sustainability standards. It also empowers the Financial Reporting Council to provide strategic oversight and governance functions in relation to the AASB’s and the Auditing and Assurance Standards sustainability standards functions.  (Date of effect: from the day after Royal Assent);
  • implements the following recommendations of the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) Review: update and modernise the objects clause of the Tax Agent Services Act 2009; create financial independence for the TPB from the ATO; require tax practitioners to not employ or use a disqualified entity without the TPB’s approval, or enter an arrangement with a disqualified entity; convert to an annual registration period; and enable the Minister to supplement the existing Code of Professional Conduct to ensure that emerging or existing behaviours and practices by tax practitioners are properly addressed. (Date of effect: various);
  • align the tax treatment of off-market share buy-backs undertaken by listed public companies with the tax treatment of on-market share buy-backs. It also amends the income tax law in respect of selective share cancellations to ensure alignment of tax treatment across capital management activities for listed public companies. (Date of effect: applicable to buy-backs and selective share cancellations undertaken by listed public companies that are first announced to the market after “Budget Time” ie after 25 October 2022); and
  • amend the ITAA 1997 to prevent certain distributions that are funded by capital raisings from being frankable. This ensures that arrangements cannot be put in place to release franking credits that would otherwise remain unused where they do not significantly change the financial position of the entity. (Date of effect: applicable to distributions made on or after 15 September 2022).

ATO: Quarterly BASs due 28 February
The ATO has reminded business taxpayers that if they lodge BAS quarterly, then their next statement is due on 28 February. The ATO also emphasised that business can lodge and pay online and that even if you have nothing to report, you still need to lodge your BAS as ‘nil’. The ATO also reminded businesses that Fuel tax credit rates changed from 1 February 2023 and that its “fuel tax credit calculator” can be used to correctly calculate a claim.

ASIC: Continuing focus on protecting consumers from financial harm
ASIC has warned businesses it will be targeting greenwashing, predatory lending and misleading insurance pricing promises this year, as part of a continuing focus on protecting consumers from financial harm. The warning coincides with the release of its latest enforcement and regulatory report, highlighting actions taken during the last three months of 2022, and outlining the full list of enforcement priorities for the year ahead. said the actions taken during the final quarter of 2022 reflect ASIC’s continuing strategic priorities and enforcement priorities.

Housing Measures No 1 Bill 2023 introduced: Housing Australia Future Fund established
The Treasury Laws Amendment (Housing Measures No 1) Bill 2023 was introduced into Parliament this morning [Thurs 16 February 2023]. The Bill will give effect to the Government’s decision to establish the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) to create a funding source to support and increase social and affordable housing, as well as other acute housing needs including, but not limited to, housing improvements to meet the particular needs of Indigenous communities and housing services for women, children and veterans. The Bill also contains a range of other related measures. (Date of effect: the measures will commence on a day to be fixed by Proclamation or 6 months after the Bill receives Royal Assent, whichever occurs first).