Default assessments upheld: failure to discharge onus
The AAT has ruled that a taxpayer has failed to discharge the onus of proving that default amended assessments issued to him for the 2010 to 2016 income tax years were “excessive”. The assessments arose in relation to unexplained amounts deposited in the taxpayer’s bank accounts. Before the AAT, the taxpayer was unsuccessful in arguing, among other things, that the amounts were loans from his father or amounts owed to him from working in his father’s business. The AAT also found that the taxpayer failed to produce any appropriate records or corroborating evidence to support his claims. The AAT also upheld penalties for false and misleading statements in relation to the omissions in his tax returns and “intentional disregard” of his tax obligations for, in effect, not properly engaging with his accountant in the preparation of his returns. (Elcheikh and FCT [2023] AATA 859, 21 April 2023).

ABS: Taxation Revenue statistics released
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released statistics about taxation revenue collected by the various levels of government in Australia. In the year 2021-22 across all levels of government, total taxation revenue was $683.0 billion (which was $89.9 billion (15.2%) higher than 2020-21). It also represented 29.6% as a percentage of GDP.

Greens to oppose the Government’s housing Bill?
In an address to the National Press Club on 26 April 2023, Greens Leader Adam Bandt said the upcoming Budget must include more for renters and that the Greens were willing to hold out on passage of the government’s housing bill until Labor addresses the rental crisis. Mr Bandt also pointed out that the biggest Budget “tax expenditures” in regard to housing were negative gearing and capital gains tax breaks, which he said will push up rents and make the housing crisis worse. Mr Bandt also outlined the Greens’ proposal to scrap tax handouts for landlords and wealthy property investors with more than one home, to fund an incentive for states to implement a two year rent freeze, to build publicly-owned housing and to double rent assistance for 1.4 million students, single parents, pensioners, people with disabilities, families and those looking for work.

APRA: latest Choice Heatmap
APRA has published its latest Choice Heatmap to show member outcomes in the superannuation product segment where investment options are actively chosen by consumers. Among other things, the heatmap illustrated that one in five Choice investment options with an eight-year history has significantly underperformed the heatmap benchmarks. By comparison, in the 2021 Choice Heatmap, one in four Choice investment options significantly underperformed the benchmarks. The heatmap also showed that two-thirds of Choice investment options that are closed to new members had poor or significantly poor performance relative to the heatmap benchmarks. It also showed that average fees are higher in Choice products that are closed to new members.

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