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Thursday, 13 October 2011
Page: 11902


Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (10:02): The Tax Laws Amendment (2011 Measures No. 7) Bill has nine schedules within it. As is always the case, they relate to a variety of changes to the taxation law. I can say at the outset on behalf of the opposition that we are not opposing this bill. I will very briefly run through each of those nine schedules and the changes that they will effect to the taxation law after the bill receives Royal Assent. The Assistant Treasurer on 21 September introduced this bill into the House. He outlined in great detail each of those schedules and the effect they will have. I will in brief summary give the coalition's perspective on each of them. As I said at the outset, we will be supporting this tax laws amendment bill.

Schedule 1 effects some tax changes with respect to special disability trusts. Essentially it provides some more favourable treatment by removing income tax barriers, particularly with respect to capital gains tax. The Assistant Treasurer outlined this in great detail just a few weeks ago, but the special disability trusts which were established in 2006 enable immediate family members and carers who have the financial means to do so to make private provision for the current and future care and accommodation needs of a family member with a severe disability. This schedule removes some of those capital gains tax barriers that might exist for those families. We welcome those changes. Schedule 2 relates to specific seasonal workers. The tax change that is being effected in this schedule is to change the lowest marginal tax rate for participants in the scheme from 29 per cent to 15 per cent.

Schedule 3 relates to TOFA, the Taxation of Financial Arrangements. There have been many tax law amendment bills that have dealt with these highly technical issues. You will probably be pleased to know, Mr Deputy Speaker, that this morning I will not reiterate every single aspect of the TOFA reforms that have occurred over many years but will just comment very briefly on schedule 3. This schedule makes some changes to the pay-as-you-go instalments and also some technical amendments with respect to them.

Schedule 4 of this bill gives the Commissioner of Taxation some discretion that will enable the extension of time for notifying transitional elections in financial arrangements. Essentially, this will provide the Commissioner of Taxation with the discretion to extend by up to three months the time in which a taxpayer may notify the commissioner of a transitional election under division 230 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 197—the TOFA provisions.

Schedule 5 relates to farm management deposits in a couple of respects, and they are positive changes. They will allow farmers affected by a natural disaster to withdraw deposits within 12 months with no tax penalty. Also, they will make provision for more information. They are positive changes to remove some unintended barriers, as I would see them.

Schedule 6 relates to superannuation. It extends temporary loss relief for merging superannuation funds. As the Assistant Treasurer outlined in the House on 21 September, it will extend the end date for temporary loss relief for funds that are merging by three months from June of this year until September of this year.

Schedule 7 relates to penalty notices. It is essentially an integrity measure that will preserve the validity of penalty notices that the Commissioner of Taxation has issued. It needs to do this as a result of a recent case in the New South Wales Court of Appeal. Some 17,000 penalty notices would be in doubt without this amendment. So without it there would be a risk of litigation, and obviously revenue implications as well. This schedule seeks to rectify the intention of the law.

Schedule 8, the second last schedule, relates to public ancillary funds. It essentially makes some changes that I believe were announced by the government in last year's budget. It will rename trust funds that qualify for deductible gift status. It will give the Treasurer some powers to make guidelines and a range of other administrative changes.

Schedule 9, the last schedule, relates to film tax offsets in each respect. It will provide for more generous treatment for the producer offset, including by amending the qualifying expenditure threshold—on my reading, reducing it to $500,000—and a range of other changes. I make the point on behalf of the opposition that these changes are very similar to the arts policy commitments made by our shadow minister, Senator George Brandis, at the last election, and we offer our support for this schedule.

As I said at the outset, I on behalf of the coalition support this tax law amendment bill and each of the schedules within it. We commend the bill to the House.