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Government acts to ensure tax certainty for deceased estates - release of draft regulation

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Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation

Bill Shorten

Government Acts To Ensure Tax Certainty For Deceased Estates - Release Of Draft Regulation

The Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten, today released a draft regulation to give effect to the Government's 2012-13 MYEFO measure to provide tax certainty to the beneficiaries of deceased estates.

Investment earnings derived by superannuation funds from assets supporting pensions are exempt from tax. A draft ruling issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in 2011 led to some uncertainty over eligibility for this tax exemption following the death of a member to whom a pension was being paid.

To address these concerns, the Government announced on 22 October 2012 that it will amend the law to allow the pension earnings tax exemption to continue following the death of a pension recipient until the deceased member's benefits have been paid out of the fund (subject to the benefits being paid as soon as practicable). The measure applies to the 2012-13 and later income years.

There has been some uncertainty for family members about the taxation of their loved one's super. This uncertainty has also posed practical difficulties for superannuation funds. These regulations will ensure that investment earnings on superannuation benefits that were supporting a pension will continue to be tax exempt following the death of the pension recipient until the benefits are paid out of the fund.

The draft regulation and associated explanatory material can be found on the Treasury website and is available for comment until 14 February 2013.