Date posted: 15/01/2018

Whats in store for tax

New Year, new tax challenges. Michael Croker, Tax Leader, looks at possible areas for tax change throughout 2018.

In brief

  • Despite a looming Federal election big-picture tax reform is unlikely
  • A range of topics is on the Commissioner of Taxation’s agenda
  • 2018 will also be a huge implementation year for the ATO

Looking ahead at 2018, politics and taxation are likely to crisscross with the Federal election predicted to focus on inequality in our society. As a bipartisan organisation, the Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand Tax Team is actively engaged with the Coalition and the Australian Labor Party.

The likelihood of big-picture tax reform is slim. Labor’s tax policies for the next election have largely been in place since the last election, although the proposed 30% minimum tax on discretionary trust distributions is new.

Treasurer Scott Morrison is expected to counter with a range of income tax policies, and Prime Minister Turnbull has already flagged personal tax cuts for middle Australia. Small business will again expect tax sweeteners, perhaps a continuation of the popular $20,000 instant asset write-off beyond 1 July 2018.

A lengthy ATO agenda

Meanwhile, the ATO will keep beavering away, with a range of topics on the Commissioner of Taxation’s agenda including: 

  • Kicking goals with the Multinational Tax taskforce
  • Cracking down on the black economy
  • The over-claiming of work related deductions
  • Increasing engagement with Private Groups and High Wealth Individuals
  • Reining-in aggressive structures used by professional firms
  • More and enhanced ATO online product offerings
  • A focus on “shonky” tax and BAS agents
  • The release of more Tax Gap reports for taxpayer segments such as individuals and small business – collectively, these segments may be a bigger drain on expected tax collections than Australians think

A year of bedding down new policies

2018 will also be a huge implementation year for the ATO with a range of politically sensitive new policies including:

  • Single Touch Payroll for employers with 20+ employees
  • GST on imported low value goods
  • GST on new residential property developers
  • Reporting of aged tax debts to credit reference bureaus Tax whistle-blower legislation
  • Common Reporting Standard (cross border data sharing of financial account information)
  • OECD BEPs initiatives such as the hybrid rules, helping taxpayers understand what our tax treaties actually say and resolving cross-border disputes in a world where tax nationalism is on the rise.

The Commissioner will also be acutely aware of the increasing risk of cyber security breaches, and on that note, mandatory reporting of data breach legislation starts 22 February 2018.

All in all, another busy tax year ahead. As always, the Tax Team will be working hard on your behalf lobbying and keeping you up to date with latest tax news.

Get the complete picture

Read Michael Croker’s full report on what 2018 could hold in store for tax

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