On Friday 31 March 2017 the Government struck a deal with the Senate crossbench to pass the reduction of the company tax rate to 25% over 10 years. In the event what was passed was a much watered-down version of what was previously intended to be the Government’s key economic policy initiative.

Under the deal reached, small and medium businesses will benefit as:

  • the company tax rate reduces to 25% over the 10 year period; and
  • the turnover threshold increases so that more company businesses can access the lower tax rate.

The standard company tax rate will remain at 30% for companies with an annual turnover in excess of the small/medium business turnover cap.

Dividend franking

There will be no changes to the application of the dividend imputation provisions as the standard corporate tax rate will remain at 30%. Large companies will continue to frank dividends at 30%, as will small and medium businesses, notwithstanding they pay company tax at the lower rate.

Unincorporated small/medium businesses

There will be an increase in the rate used to calculate the small business tax offset for unincorporated small/medium businesses. But the offset will remain capped at $1,000, so the offset will continue to be of limited practical effect; certainly not as advantageous as the small/medium business company tax cuts.

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The Australian Taxation Office released a final version of Law Companion Guideline LCG 2016/12 on 20 March 2017. This addresses how an individual's total superannuation balance will be calculated from 30 June 2017. The guideline was previously issued in draft as LCG 2016/D12.

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The recent changes to superannuation will have a variety of impacts on members of superannuation funds depending on their individual circumstances. For fund members who are receiving Transition to Retirement Pensions (TTRs) in particular, the tax advantage on the earnings within a TTR pension will be removed from 1 July 2017.

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 The Impact on you of the Upcoming Superannuation Changes

The superannuation changes, which take effect on 1 July 2017 will affect both concessional and non-concessional superannuation contribution options and could have a substantial impact on workers, who may end up paying more tax, particularly the wealthy.

Therefore, you may need to take action prior to 1 July 2017 to ensure you take advantage of advantages that still exit to ensure you are better placed to face retirement.

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The ATO has now finalised its Law Companion Guideline LCG 2016/8 Superannuation reform: transfer balance cap and transition-to-retirement reforms: transitional CGT relief for superannuation funds addressing the contentious issue of the potential CGT implications of the new rules rule limiting superannuation balances to $1.6 million per member from 1 July 2017. Having published a draft guidline in November 2016 this is the consolidated guideline and is intended to provide clarity around the issue of CGT for transition to retirement income.

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As previously mentioned in previous articles on our website, far-reaching changes have been made to the superannuation system with many changes taking effect from 1 July 2017. The most significant change is the introduction of the $1.6 million transfer balance cap which will restrict the balance of superannuation a member can commute from accumulation to pension phase. However, the imposition of this legislation brings with it some practical considerations for Trustees of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSF) in particular the revaluation of assets at 30 June 2017.

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New Austraian law applying GST to imported digital products and services

Australia has introduced a new law applying the Australian Goods and Services Tax (GST) to international sales of digital products and services provided to Australian consumers. Under the new law, overseas suppliers will be required to pay GST on these sales from 1 July 2017.

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As we previously advised, where a foreign resident disposes of certain taxable Australian property, the purchaser is required to withhold 10% of the purchase price (as defined) and pay that amount to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) under legislation enacted and applying to contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2016.

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