Tax law Bill introduced – miscellaneous amendments
The Treasury Laws Amendment (Refining and Improving our Tax System) Bill 2023 was introduced into Parliament on Wed 22 March 2023. The proposed measures contained in the Bill will:

  • Amend the International Tax Agreements Act 1953 to give force of law to the Icelandic Convention (as part of Australia’s domestic procedure for implementing its tax treaties). Date of effect: The amendments commence on the day after Royal Assent, noting that the Convention itself must first enter into force before it can take effect (and for entry into force, Australia and Iceland must exchange instruments of ratification on the completion of their domestic implementation procedures).
  • Extend the income tax treatment that applies to the Future Fund Board to its 100% subsidiaries incorporated in Australia (ie the amendments exempt these subsidiaries from income tax and include them as entities eligible for a refund of a tax offset relating to a franked distribution). Date of effect: The amendments apply to assessments for the first income year commencing on or after Royal Assent, and later income years.
  • Transfer administration of Environmental Organisation Deductible Gift Recipients (DGRs), Harm Prevention Charity DGRs, Cultural Organisation DGRs, and Overseas Aid DGRs to the Commissioner of Taxation (who administers all other categories of DGR). Date of effect: The measures will apply six months after Royal Assent to facilitate the machinery of government changes necessary to administer the changes.
  • Amend the Excise Act 1901 and Customs Act 1901 so that an eligible business entity liable for excise duty for excisable goods or customs duty for excise-equivalent goods, being fuel and alcohol, can align their excise returns and customs returns with the return period for other indirect taxes which are separately lodged through a business activity statement. Date of effect: The measures have effect from, 1 July 2023.
  • Amends the Excise Act 1901 so that repackaging of beer that would otherwise be excise manufacture is not taken to be the manufacture of beer if it meets certain requirements. The beer must be repackaged into a container with a capacity of no more than 2 litres which is not pressurised (such as containers commonly known as growlers), and the repackaging must occur immediately before the retail sale of the repackaged beer. In addition, only the repackaging of the first 10,000 litres of beer at particular premises in a financial year is taken not to be the manufacture of beer – so that the requirement for a person to hold a manufacturer licence or pay excise duty where beer is repackaged in this particular manner is effectively removed. Date of effect: The measures commences on 1 July 2023 and applies in relation to beer that is repackaged on or after commencement.

Addendum to GST Ruling re treatment of financial supplies
The ATO has released an addendum to GSTR 2002/2 (Goods and services tax: GST treatment of financial supplies and related supplies and acquisitions). It amends GSTR 2002/2 to reflect changes in the GST law (for instance, changes to the GST legislation applicable to cross-border supplies, and in relation to digital currency), includes new references to public guidance released relating to financial supplies, and contains some changes to modernise parts of the Ruling. The update also contains a new buy-now pay-later example, that applies the ATO’s longstanding view on interest-free loans and contains a number of updates to Schedule 2 of the Ruling to indicate when certain foreign currency denominated products and overseas payment products are GST-free.

Updated draft GST Ruling re ATM service fees, credit card surcharges etc
The ATO has released updated draft GSTR 2014/2DC1 (Goods and services tax: treatment of ATM service fees, credit card surcharges and debit card surcharges).  This draft update provides proposed miscellaneous minor revisions to GSTR 2014/2. It includes updates to documents and rules referred to in the Ruling, to reflect changes to the industry self-regulatory documents containing the definition of ‘ATM’ or ‘ATM Terminal’ (the replacement of the Consumer Electronic Clearing System Regulations and Manual with the Issuers and Acquirers Community Regulations and Code Set), changes in Reserve Bank of Australia rules for merchant surcharging, and the Reserve Bank of Australia designation of prepaid cards.

FBT: Class ruling re programme for calculating car parking benefits
The ATO has released Class Ruling CR 2023/14 (Logbook Me Pty Ltd – LogbookMe In-Car Logbook Solution for calculating car parking benefits). It sets out the FBT consequences for employers who use the LogbookMe In-Car Logbook Solution (LogbookMe Solution) to calculate the total number of car parking benefits provided during a fringe benefits tax year.