The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

13 May 2008

NO.053

Joint Press Release
with
The Hon Chris Bowen MP
Assistant Treasurer
Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs

The Way Forward on Tax Measures Announced,
but not Enacted, by the Previous Government

At the time the Parliament was prorogued, on 15 October 2007, the previous government was still to enact almost 60 announced tax measures.

The Rudd Government has been working its way through this stock of announced but unenacted measures with a view to arriving at a decision on each of them and eliminating the considerable uncertainty that exists around them in the community.

The attached table details the stock of unenacted measures, and the Rudd Government's decision on the majority of those measures.

For those measures the Rudd Government has decided should be adopted, the table also outlines an indicative timetable for implementing them, subject to other government priorities and the availability of legislative drafting resources. The Rudd Government has already acted quickly to introduce legislation to implement a number of them, including urgent measures such as that proposing tax-free treatment for superannuation lump sums paid to persons suffering from a terminal medical condition.

Measures which the Government has decided should proceed, but where it proposes to make changes to the announcements by the previous government, are detailed in tonight's Budget. Also detailed in tonight's Budget are those measures the Rudd Government has decided should not proceed.

The attached statement also outlines the Government's proposals for a number of measures it has decided should proceed.

The Government is also releasing for consultation, today, draft regulations and explanatory statement for one of those measures, to allow the Australian Taxation Office to charge for valuations required in the course of issuing private rulings. The draft regulations and explanatory statement are available from the Treasury website at www.treasury.gov.au.

Given the volume of unenacted measures, and the need to give each measure proper consideration, final decisions have not yet been reached in relation to some measures. The Government will announce its decision in relation to these remaining measures as soon as possible.

13 May 2008

 


 

Table: Announced But Unenacted measures of the previous government

Category 1: Measures the Rudd Government has decided to proceed with and which have been introduced in the Autumn Sittings 2008

Measure

Description

Implementation details

1

Farm Management Deposits – early withdrawal

Treasury contact: Matt Flavel
02 6263 4382

Ensure that primary producers in an area declared to be in exceptional circumstances can access early withdrawal provisions.

Introduced in Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 1) Bill 2008.

2

Tax-free grants under the Tobacco Growers Adjustment Assistance Package 2006

Treasury contact: Matt Flavel
02 6263 4382

Provide tax-free grants paid to tobacco growers who undertake to exit all agricultural enterprises for at least five years.

Introduced in Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 1) Bill 2008.

3

Deductible gift recipients

Treasury contact: Tony Coles
02 6263 3357

Provide income tax deductions for certain gifts of $2 or more made to these organisations:

  • Council for Jewish Community Security
  • Australia for UNHCR
  • Amy Gillett Foundation
  • Dunn and Lewis Youth Development Foundation
  • The Spirit of Australia Foundation
  • World Youth Day 2008 Trust
  • Ian Thorpe's Fountain for Youth Limited
  • Wheelchairs for Kids Inc.
  • Finding Sydney Foundation
  • Memorials Development Committee
  • Playgroup Australia Incorporated
  • AE2 Commemorative Foundation Ltd.
  • Xanana Vocational Education Trust.

Introduced in Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 2) Bill 2008.

4

Personal income tax exemption for scholarships under the Endeavour Awards

Treasury contact: Alix Gallo
02 6263 4496

Exempt from income tax, the Endeavour Research Fellowships and the Endeavour Executive Awards.

Introduced in Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 2) Bill 2008.

5

Beneficiary Tax Offset - extend to Equine Workers Hardship Wage Supplement Payment

Treasury contact: Alix Gallo
02 6263 4496

Extend eligibility for the beneficiary tax offset to taxpayers in receipt of the Equine Workers Hardship Wage Supplement Payment.

Introduced in Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 1) Bill 2008.

6

Personal income tax exemption for the Queensland Government's $1,000 Early Completion Bonus for apprentices

Treasury contact: Alix Gallo
02 6263 4496

Exempt the Queensland Government’s $1,000 Early Completion Bonus for apprentices from income tax.

Introduced in Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 2) Bill 2008.

7

Revise the determination of GST exempt taxes, fees and charges

Treasury contact: Michael Harms
02 6263 3308

Under the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Reform of Commonwealth-State Financial Relations, certain compulsory taxes and regulatory charges are not subject to GST. A complete revised determination setting out the exclusions is issued semi-annually.

A new determination was registered on 16 January 2008 - A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax)(Exempt Taxes Fees and Charges) Determination 2008 (No. 1)

8

Tax free treatment of superannuation lump sums for the terminally ill

Treasury contact: Mick Dalton
02 6263 3713

Allow terminally ill persons to access their superannuation benefits tax‑free where paid as a lump sum.

Introduced in Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 1) Bill 2008.

9

Extending the superannuation guarantee (SG) late payment offset

Treasury contact: Nigel Murray
02 6263 4426

Extend the late payment offset so that employers who have made a late contribution and incur the SG charge will not have to pay the same contribution twice for a quarter.

Introduced in Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 2) Bill 2008.

10

Income tax treatment of misappropriations by an agent

Treasury contact: Raphael Cicchini
02 6263 3188

Amend the uniform capital allowance and capital gains tax provisions to account for amounts misappropriated by an agent.

Introduced in Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 2) Bill 2008.

11

Carbon sink forests – deduction for establishment costs

Treasury contact: Matt Flavel
02 6263 4382

Provide a deduction for the establishment cost for carbon sinks incurred between the 2007‑08 and 2011-12 income years and thereafter depreciate in line with the horticultural plant provisions.

Introduced in Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 1) Bill 2008.

12

Changes to the market value substitution rule for widely held entities.

Treasury contact: Paul McMahon
02 6263 3385

Amend the market value substitution rule so that it no longer applies to cancellations of interests in widely held entities.

Introduced in Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No. 2) Bill 2008.

Category 2: Measures the Rudd Government has decided to proceed with and where legislation is expected to be introduced in the Winter or Spring Sittings 2008

Measure

Description

Implementation details

13

Taxation of Financial Arrangements stages 3 and 4

Treasury contact: Graeme Davis
02 6263 2078

Implement tax-timing treatments of financial arrangements.
Will apply for income years starting on or after 1 July 2009.

Joint Treasurer/Minister Bowen Press Release of 13 May 2008
Legislation expected to be introduced in Spring 2008.

14

Taxation of rights

Treasury contact: Tony Regan
02 6263 3334

Restore the long standing treatment of rights issues following the High Court’s decision in McNeil.

Treasurer’s Press Release No. 19 of 8 April 2008.
Legislation expected to be introduced in Winter 2008.

15

Demutualisation of health insurers and capital gains tax

Treasury contact: Paul McMahon
02 6263 3385

Provide relief from capital gains tax for policyholders of health insurers who receive shares as part of their health insurer's demutualisation.

Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs Press Release No. 13 of 26 February 2008.
Legislation expected to be introduced in Winter 2008.

16

Payment of temporary residents' superannuation to the Australian Government.

Treasury contact: Nigel Murray
02 6263 4426

Provide that future superannuation contributions and balances for temporary residents will be paid to the Australian Government.

Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law’s Press Release No. 16 of 6 May 2008.
Legislation expected to be introduced in Winter 2008.

17

New tax treaty with Japan and a Protocol to amend the tax treaty with South Africa.

Treasury contact: Martin Jacobs
02 6263 2854

These new agreements will broadly update taxation arrangements between Australia and Japan and Australia and South Africa.

Japan - Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs Press Release No. 5 of 1 February 2008.
South Africa – Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs Press Release No. 20 of 1 April 2008.
Legislation to give the force of law to the revised treaty with Japan expected to be introduced in Winter 2008, and the Protocol with South Africa in Spring 2008.

18

Consolidation

Treasury contact: Tony Regan
02 6263 3334

Refine the consolidation regime further by making a range of technical amendments including interactions between the consolidation provisions and other parts of the income tax law.

See attachment for details.
Legislation expected to be introduced in Spring 2008.

19

Consolidation – scrip for scrip roll-over provisions and corporate restructures

Treasury contact: Tony Regan
02 6263 3334

Modification to the scrip for scrip CGT roll-over provisions for corporate restructures.

See 2008/09 Budget Paper No. 2 for details.

20

GST and international telecommunications mobile telephone global roaming.

Treasury contact: Laurene Edsor
02 6263 4351

Ensure supplies of mobile telephone global roaming services provided to visitors to Australia remain not subject to GST, consistent with obligations under the International Telecommunication Regulations. (This is a more targeted amendment than that announced in December 2006).

See 2008/09 Budget Paper No. 2 for details.
Legislation expected to be introduced in Spring 2008.

21

Prescribed Private Funds (PPFs)

Treasury contact: Tony Coles
02 6263 3357

Amend the regulations to incorporate approvals, removals and name changes to PPFs since the last amendment to the regulations.

Each PPF has been informed of the decision to proceed.

22

Tax treatment of certain financial instruments issued by certain Upper Tier 2 financial institutions

Treasury contact: Graeme Davis
02 6263 2078

Extend, until 1 July 2008, the debt/equity transitional provisions applying to Upper Tier instruments. This is to allow further time for consultation and development of an Upper Tier 2 regulation.

Joint Treasurer/Minister Bowen Press Release of 13 May 2008
Regulations expected to be made in mid 2008.

23

Foreign currency amendments

Treasury contact: Graeme Davis
02 6263 2078

Extend compliance cost saving measures and ensure that the provisions operate as intended.

Joint Treasurer/Minister Bowen Press Release of 13 May 2008
Legislation expected to be introduced in Spring 2008.

24

Thin capitalisation - application of accounting standards

Treasury contact: Josephine Laduzko
02 6263 3264

Adjust the recognition and valuation of assets, liabilities and equity capital under the thin capitalisation rules following the adoption of Australian equivalents to International Financial Reporting Standards.

See attachment for details.
Legislation expected to be introduced in Winter 2008.

25

Regulations for private rulings requiring valuations

Treasury contact: Victoria Henry
02 6263 3502

Allow the ATO to charge for valuations required in the course of issuing private rulings.

See attachment for details.
The regulations are expected to be made in the second half of 2008.
Draft regulations and a draft explanatory statement are released for consultation and are available from the Treasury website at www.treasury.gov.au.

26

Increase access to small business capital gains tax concessions via the $2 million aggregated turnover test

Treasury contact: Paul McMahon
02 6263 3385

Allow:
(1) a taxpayer owning an asset used in a business by an affiliate or connected entity; and
(2) a partner who owns an asset used in a partnership business,
to access the small business CGT concessions.

See 2008/09 Budget Paper No. 2 for details.
Legislation expected to be introduced in Winter or Spring 2008.

27

Petroleum Resource Rent Taxation – minor policy amendments

Treasury contact: John Anderson
02 6263 4411

Minor amendments to improve the functioning of the law from 1 July 2008.

See attachment for details.
Legislation expected to be introduced in Winter or Spring 2008.

Category 3: Measures the Rudd Government has decided to proceed with and where legislation is not expected to be introduced before 2009

Measure

Description

Implementation details

28

Pay As You Go instalments paid annually when voluntarily registered for GST

Treasury contact: Peter Krizmanits
02 6263 3066

Defer to 1 July 2009 the 2007-08 Budget measure to align the Pay As You Go instalment payment and reporting requirements with the annual payment and reporting requirements for taxpayers who are voluntarily registered for GST.

See 2008/09 Budget Paper No. 2 for details.
Legislation is not expected to be introduced before 2009.

29

Simplified imputation system

Treasury contact: Tony Regan
02 6263 3334

Insert further components of the simplified imputation system and make minor amendments to imputation rules.

See attachment for details.
Legislation is not expected to be introduced before 2009.

30

Loss recoupment rules - modifications to the continuity of ownership test

Treasury contact: Tony Regan
02 6263 3334

Refine the company loss recoupment rules so that the continuity of ownership test applies appropriately when a company has multiple classes of shares and to make some technical refinements.

See attachment for details.
Legislation is not expected to be introduced before 2009.

31

Verification measures to support new arrangements concerning Liquids, Aerosols and Gels (LAGS) and the sealed bag scheme.

Treasury contact: Phil Bignell
02 6263 4372

Allow new procedures for the verification of export of LAGS sold through the sealed bag scheme, in light of recently introduced international security restrictions relating to the carrying of these items on international flights.

See attachment for details.
Legislation is not expected to be introduced before 2009.

32

Deferred settlement of excise and excise-equivalent customs duties

Treasury contact: Kym Malycha
02 6263 3394

Allow small business to defer the settlement of excise and excise-equivalent customs duties to a monthly cycle, rather than the existing weekly cycle.

See attachment for details.
Legislation is not expected to be introduced before 2009.

33

Refunds, remissions and drawbacks of excise and excise-equivalent customs duty.

Treasury contact: Tony Free
02 6263 3283

Enhance and streamline eligibility for refunds, remissions and drawbacks of excise and excise-equivalent customs duty.

See attachment for details.
Legislation is not expected to be introduced before 2009.

34

Tax concessions for the International Criminal Court

Treasury contact: Martin Jacobs
02 6263 2854

To provide the International Criminal Court and certain of its officials with income tax, customs duty, GST and other Commonwealth tax concessions consistent with Australia’s obligations under the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court.
The concessions are not available to individuals who are Australian nationals or permanent residents.

Legislation is not expected to be introduced before 2009.

Category 4: Measures the Rudd Government has decided not to proceed with

Measure

Description

Details of Government decision

35

GST and the sale of real property - interaction of the margin scheme and GST-free going concern and GST-free farmland provisions

Amend the application of the margin scheme to supplies of real property that were initially acquired as a GST-free going concern or GST‑free farmland.
The Government has decided to proceed with a better targeted measure

See 2008/09 Budget Paper No. 2 for details.
Legislation for the better targeted measure is expected to be introduced in Winter 2008.

36

GST relief for charities

Amend the application of the GST law to charities.

See 2008/09 Budget Paper No. 2 for details.

37

Tourist Refund Scheme – introducing private providers and enhancements to tourist shopping.

The Government has decided not to amend the Tourist Refund Scheme so that private providers would provide GST and wine equalisation tax refunds to travellers departing Australia.
The Government will proceed with various minor proposals to enhance the Tourist Refund Scheme.

See 2008/09 Budget Paper No. 2 for details.
Legislation for the Government’s proposals is not expected to be introduced before 2009.

Category 5: Measures for which final decisions have not yet been reached

Measure

Description

Background

38

Repeal of the deemed present entitlement rules.

Remove overlap and increase simplicity by subjecting fixed interests in foreign trusts to accruals taxation under the foreign investment fund (FIF) rules.

This proposal is currently being examined by the Board of Taxation in the course of the Board’s wider review of the foreign source income anti-tax deferral rules, including the deemed present entitlement and FIF rules.

39

Amendment of the transferor trust rules.

Strengthen the transferor trust rules by removing the requirement that transferors control the trust for accruals taxation to apply.

This proposal is currently being examined by the Board of Taxation in the course of the Board’s wider review of the foreign source income anti‑tax deferral rules, including the transferor trust rules.

40

Consistent taxation treatment of foreign dividends and amendments to the definition of non-portfolio dividend

To ensure consistent tax treatment of foreign dividends received by Australian companies, whether the dividends are received directly or indirectly through a controlled foreign company. Consequential changes to the definition of non-portfolio dividend will also be made to align it more closely with economic ownership concepts.

This proposal is currently being examined by the Board of Taxation in the course of the Board’s wider review of the foreign source income anti-tax-deferral rules, including the controlled foreign company rules.

41

Review of Taxation Secrecy and Disclosure Provisions

Standardise the various secrecy and disclosure provisions in the tax law into a single legislative framework.

A discussion paper was released by the previous government for public comment in 2006.

42

Review of elections in the income tax laws

Review the design of elections in the law and establish guidelines for framing those elections in the future.

This arose from the Report on Aspects of Income Tax Self Assessment (2004).

43

Review of unlimited amendment periods

Review unlimited amendment periods in the income tax laws and, wherever practical, recommend finite periods during which the ATO and the taxpayer can amend the assessment.

This arose from the Report on Aspects of Income Tax Self Assessment (2004).
Public consultation on a discussion paper was conducted in August-October 2007.

44

Review of discretions in the income tax laws

Review discretions in the income tax law that go to the determination of a taxpayer's liability and, wherever practical, recommend replacement tests that a taxpayer can apply at the time of lodgement.

This arose from the Report on Aspects of Income Tax Self Assessment (2004).
Public consultation on a discussion paper was conducted in July-August 2007.

45

Review of anti-avoidance provisions in the income tax laws

Review specific anti-avoidance rules in the income tax law and review whether changes to the general anti-avoidance rule are necessary.

This arose from ANTS (1998) and the Review of Business Taxation (1999).

46

Native title withholding tax

Establish a system of withholding tax from payments made to native title holders for acts which impair, but do not extinguish, their native title rights.

This was announced in February 1998. The proposed approach has met with legal and practical problems which are currently being examined.

47

Native title and capital gains tax issues

Allow:

  • native title to retain its pre‑CGT status when acquired by a registered body corporate upon obtaining a native title determination;
  • a transfer of native title within a group of native title holders and succession from one group of native title holders to another to be CGT exempt; and
  • compensation payments received for the extinguishment or voluntary surrender of native title rights to be exempt from CGT and income tax; and

expenses for extinguishment of native title to form part of the cost base of a CGT asset.

This was announced by the previous government in February 1998 and was to be implemented with the native title withholding tax measure (see item 46).

48

GST and representatives of incapacitated entities

Clarify the GST obligations for representatives that are appointed over entities that have become incapacitated.

 

49

Tax treatment of term subordinated notes with solvency clauses

Ensure that the presence of a solvency clause in certain term subordinated notes does not preclude the instrument qualifying as a debt interest for tax purposes.

 

50

Taxation exemptions for foreign governments

Codify the tax exemptions that are currently provided to foreign governments and their investment bodies.

 

51

Company residence rules

Amend the company residence rules so that companies that are residents under domestic income tax law, but are non-residents for the purposes of a tax treaty, are treated as non‑resident for all purposes of the income tax law.

This arose from the Review of International Tax Arrangements (2003).

52

Energy Grants (Cleaner Fuels) Scheme

Refine and clarify the Energy Grants (Cleaner Fuels) Scheme including the provision of additional arrangements for renewable diesel.

 

53

Phasing down of the land transport facilities borrowings tax offset scheme

Phase down the land transport facilities borrowings tax offset scheme.

The decision to phase down the scheme was announced in the 2004-05 Budget.

54

Tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) with tax havens.

Continue negotiation of TIEAs as a response to the OECD’s Harmful Tax Practices Initiative.

 

55

Modification of the transfer pricing provisions

Review the administration of the transfer pricing rules.

 

56

New legislative regime for tax agent services

To create an improved environment for the provision of tax agent services by defining the role of tax agents in a legislated code of professional conduct to be administered by a national Tax Practitioners Board.

Public consultation on draft legislation was conducted in May-August 2007.

57

Fuel tax reforms

Effective fuel tax on alternative fuels capable of use in an internal combustion engine is scheduled to be introduced from 1 July 2011 and phased in over five years to the final rates from 1 July 2015.

 

 


 

Attachment

Enhancements to consolidation regime

The Government will proceed with modifications to the income tax consolidation regime. These changes will clarify the operation of the consolidation regime and improve interactions with other parts of the law.

The modifications will:

  • amend the tax cost setting rules to ensure the tax cost allocated to an asset is used to work out the amount that is assessable income or allowed as a deduction under other parts of the law;
  • treat rights to future income as retained cost base assets with a tax cost setting amount equal to the terminating value for the rights at the joining time;
  • modify the allocable cost amount for a joining entity to ensure an amount is taken into account only once;
  • change the pre‑CGT factor rules so that, subject to certain integrity rules, the proportion of pre‑CGT membership interests in an entity that joins a consolidated group is preserved when the entity leaves the group;
  • clarify the adjustment to the allocable cost amount for a joining entity where there has been a pre‑joining time CGT roll‑over;
  • ensure that, if an entity joins a consolidated group with a nil available fraction and transfers losses to the group, the capital gain that arises under CGT event L5 when the entity leaves the group is reduced in certain circumstances;
  • modify the mechanism for working out the taxable income of consolidated groups that have life insurance company members where there are intra‑group transactions;
  • ensure that, subject to certain integrity rules, consolidated groups can convert to multiple entry consolidated groups (MEC groups), and vice versa, with minimal tax consequences – this change will apply to conversion events that happen on or after 27 October 2006;
  • clarify the accounting principles that must be used to determine certain elements of the allocable cost amount;
  • clarify that, where the value of liabilities for a joining entity that is determined for tax cost setting purposes is reduced by future income tax deductions, the amount of the reduction cannot be added back under another provision;
  • ensure that the tax cost setting rules apply appropriately in respect of liabilities that an entity takes with it when it leaves a consolidated group;
  • limit intra‑group liabilities owed to a leaving entity in step 3 of the exit allocable cost amount to accounting liabilities;
  • modify the operation of the tax cost setting rules when a general insurance company joins or leaves a consolidated group;
  • change the tax cost setting rules so that units held in a cash management trust that have a market value equal to their face value are retained cost base assets;
  • ensure the tax cost setting rules apply appropriately to inherited deductions for expenditure on certain assets acquired on or before 13 May 1997;
  • modify the over‑depreciation adjustment to the tax cost setting rules so that a joining entity only needs to look at the five years of dividend history immediately prior to the joining time - this change will apply to entities that join a consolidated group after 8 May 2007;
  • for the period between 1 July 2002 and 8 May 2007, ensure CGT event L7 will not apply to amounts that are recognised under another provision of the income tax law and, with effect from 8 May 2007, repeal CGT event L7;
  • allow the head company of a consolidated group to reduce a capital gain arising under CGT event L3 by the value of doubtful debts held by a joining entity at the joining time - this change will apply from 8 May 2007;
  • ensure that, if an entity enters into a contract that causes a CGT event to arise and, before the contract is settled, the entity joins or leaves a consolidated group, then the entity that receives the capital proceeds will include the capital gain or loss in its taxable income - this change will apply from 8 May 2007;
  • extend the single entity rule to shareholders who dispose of shares in the head company of a consolidated group, for the purposes of the CGT discount rules and CGT event K6 - this change will apply from 8 May 2007;
  • modify the operation of the loss multiplication rules so that widely‑held companies do not need to make adjustments under those rules unless a controlling stakeholder in a loss company has an equity interest in the entity, the loss company’s losses are reflected in that interest, and the reflected losses are recognised for Australian tax purposes;
  • ensure that beneficiaries of a trust that joins or leaves a consolidated group part way though an income year are taxed on an appropriate share of the trust’s net income - this change will apply from the 2007‑08 income year;
  • extend certain transitional concessions to consolidated groups that have substituted accounting periods and formed on a day that was not the first day of the group’s income year;
  • clarify that the CGT provisions relating to blackhole expenditure that apply to consolidated groups also apply to MEC groups - this change will apply from 1 July 2005; and
  • ensure the entry history rule applies to determine the time that depreciating assets of a joining entity are acquired by the head company of a consolidated group - this change will apply from 8 May 2007.

Unless otherwise specified, the amendments will apply from 1 July 2002 - that is from the commencement of the consolidation regime. However, the application dates and the need for appropriate transitional rules will be reviewed as part on the ongoing consultation process with business and professional groups during the development of legislation to implement these changes. Some of these measures may also be reviewed as part of that consultation process.

Application of Accounting Standards to the Thin Capitalisation Regime

The Government will amend the thin capitalisation regime to accommodate certain impacts arising from the 2005 adoption of Australian equivalents to International Financial Reporting Standards. These amendments will allow entities subject to thin capitalisation to depart from the current accounting treatment in relation to certain intangible assets and to exclude both deferred tax assets and liabilities and surpluses and deficits in defined benefit superannuation funds from such calculations.

Regulations for Private Rulings Requiring Valuations

The Government has agreed to consult on draft regulations for valuations obtained for a private ruling.

The proposed regulations assist the Commissioner of Taxation in accessing valuation services for taxpayers who have requested a private ruling involving the value of any thing affecting their tax obligations.

Valuation services will be based on an ‘applicant pays’ model where the cost of the valuer making or reviewing a valuation is passed on to the private ruling applicant.

The draft regulations and draft explanatory statement are available from the Treasury website at www.treasury.gov.au. The draft regulations and explanatory statement have not yet been finalised and are released for consultation purposes only.

Minor changes to petroleum resources rent tax

The Government will implement three minor changes to the Petroleum Resources Rent Tax (PRRT) directed at lowering compliance costs and removing inconsistencies, with effect from 1 July 2008.

The first change is to introduce a functional currency rule into the PRRT, similar to the functional currency rule for income tax. This will reduce compliance costs for PRRT taxpayers.

The second change is to introduce a ‘look-back’ rule for exploration expenditure related to a production licence derived from an exploration permit or a retention lease. This change will ensure that all exploration expenditure is deductible for PRRT purposes.

The third change is to remove an inconsistency in the PRRT ‘external petroleum’ provisions to address the circumstance where two or more petroleum projects are not independent of each other.

Completion of the simplified imputation system

The Government will finalise the implementation of the simplified imputation system.

The simplified imputation system commenced from 1 July 2002 and has been gradually implemented since 2002 in a rolling program of legislation. The simplified imputation system is now largely complete. The primary element that remains outstanding is the franking credit trading rules (that is, the holding period and related payment rules). A modification will be made to these rules to ensure that income beneficiaries of testamentary trusts are not prevented from accessing franking credits because of the operation of these rules. Other minor technical amendments will also be finalised.

Business and professional groups will be consulted during the development of legislation to implement the final elements of the simplified imputation system.

Improvements to the company loss recoupment rules

The Government will proceed with three changes to improve the operation of the company loss recoupment rules and to remove uncertainty.

First, changes will be made to help ensure that companies do not fail the continuity of ownership test (COT) because of having multiple classes of shares on issue, or because of having special arrangements in place to make distributions of dividends and capital returns. This change will apply from 1 July 2002, the date coinciding with the measure relaxing the COT tracing rules and introduction of the consolidation regime.

Second, the meaning of ‘voting power’ in the context of the COT where the company's shares do not all have the same voting rights for all matters affecting the company will be clarified. The change will ensure that, in these circumstances, the meaning of voting power will look at the power to vote on a poll for the election of a director to a company. Failing that, the meaning of voting power will look to the power to change the company's constitution. This change will apply from 1 July 2007.

Third, changes will be made to ensure that the entry history rule in the consolidation regime is disregarded in applying the same business test. This change will apply from 1 July 2002, the date coinciding with introduction of the consolidation regime.

Business and professional groups will be consulted during the development of legislation to implement these changes.

New regulatory arrangements for the export of liquids, aerosols and gels

The Government will proceed with new regulatory arrangements to allow for the verification of export of liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) sold through the sealed bag scheme.

Since 31 March 2007, travellers have been unable to carry LAGs items greater than 100 millilitres in carry‑on luggage. As a result, it is no longer possible to verify that LAGs items have been exported by a physical check of items at the Customs barrier. The measure will confirm the interim arrangements for export verification that allow travellers to pack LAGs items in their checked luggage. Travellers provide proof of export by way of a declaration on the goods dockets that will be handed to collection agents after the Customs barrier.

This measure has received the unanimous agreement of the States and Territories and will be implemented after consultation with industry.

Codifying the deferred settlement of excise and excise-equivalent goods

The Government will proceed to codify the existing weekly deferred settlement arrangements for excise and excise-equivalent goods, with an exception to allow small businesses to settle on a monthly cycle. The measure will reduce small business compliance costs under the excise and customs systems.

Aligning excise and customs legislation for refunds, remission or drawback of duty

The Government will proceed with the measure to align the excise and customs legislation to establish consistent eligibility conditions across excise and equivalent customs product classes for taxpayers seeking a refund, remission or drawback of duty.

The measure will allow all excisable and excise-equivalent imported goods - alcohol (other than wine), tobacco and fuel - to be eligible for a refund of duty where they are returned to a place licensed to receive the good, or they are destroyed with the prior approval of the relevant administering authority. The measure will reduce business compliance costs under the excise and customs systems.