Sounding Board

Welcome to the Sounding Board.

This is the place to contribute ideas for tax system improvement (including care and maintenance ideas that were part of the ATO's former Tax issues Entry System (TIES).

We are looking for ideas that reduce red-tape, result in compliance savings and/or remove ambiguity and uncertainty (e.g. streamlining tax registration thresholds, re-drafting complex provisions to ensure clarity and removing unnecessary sections from tax returns).

Sounding Board is not a forum for substantive tax policy proposals (e.g. altering tax rates, changing the tax mix or removing certain types of taxes altogether) or ideas that would require significant changes to the tax system. However, inevitably some ideas of this nature are advanced by the community and accordingly we have included a category for these Policy Ideas – which remain matters for Government.

To make it easier to review the ideas that have been contributed by the community and to better manage community expectations, we will collect ideas on Sounding Board under one of five (5) campaigns. As such, like matters can be grouped together and the community can better understand what action may be taken.

Campaign Title

Description

Sweating the small stuff: typos and slip ups

Care and maintenance suggestions that correct spelling errors, bring provisions in line with drafting conventions, repeal inoperative provisions and update references in the tax law to reflect changes to the names of State and Territory legislation and specifically listed deductible gift recipients.

What were they thinking: clarifying the policy

Ideas that require the policy intent be clarified and identifying uncertainty in the application of the law.

Too taxing: reducing red tape

Existing campaign - ideas that reduce red-tape and result in compliance savings (e.g. streamlining tax registration thresholds, re-drafting complex provisions to ensure clarity and removing unnecessary sections from tax returns)

Can government fix it: policy improvements

Would require a change to government Policy.

Tell it to the Tax Office: Administrative fixes

ATO administrative changes

We encourage you to submit ideas and offer practical solutions that you think could positively shape the Australian tax regulation landscape.

How to use Sounding Board

To get involved, simply register as a user. You will then be able to submit, vote and comment on the ideas. To submit an idea, click the 'Submit New Idea' button at the top of the navigation sidebar. You will then be asked to add a title and describe your idea. You will also have the option to add tags to the idea. All submitted ideas are regularly reviewed by the Board of Taxation, with assistance from the Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office. Sounding Board is a standing agenda item at the Board's meetings.

To vote on existing ideas, click the up or down arrows in the votes box to the right of the idea title/description.

To add a comment, use the text box below the idea.

More Information

To learn more about the work of the Board of Taxation and the role we play in improving the tax system, visit www.taxboard.gov.au.

Please contact the Board of Taxation on taxboard@taxboard.gov.au should you require any further assistance with Sounding Board.

Thank you for your contribution.

(@p.m)

Can government fix it

Updating tax laws for changes to accounting standards

There are a number of areas where the tax law has not been updated to reflect the impact of new accounting standards. Two areas that immediately come to mind are: 1. The new leasing standard AASB 16 brings most leases onto the balance sheet. The tax consolidation provisions, for example s705-56 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, make specific modifications for finance leases. These may need to be extended to all... more »

Voting

2 votes
2 up votes
0 down votes
(@kitmorgan64)

What were they thinking

Incorrect CGT small business entity requirement in 328-430

There appears to be a drafting error in subsection 328-430(1)(d)(ii) dealing with small business entity ['SBE'] rollovers. A SBE is defined in section 328-110 as an entity that has an aggregated turnover of less than $10 million, accordingly it should be possible to roll an asset into a SBE using Subdivision 328-G provided the SBE is either an affiliate of or connected with the transferor (assuming the other requirements... more »

(@kitmorgan64)

What were they thinking

152-70 - How can a Trustee hold a legal and equitable interest?

There is an apparent disconnect between the language of Item 1 in section 152-70, which requires an entity to hold a legal and equitable interest in the shares in a company, and Example 1.2 in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Tax Laws Amendment (2006 Measures No. 7) Bill 2006 - which introduced this section. While Example 1.2 evidences a clear policy intention that a Trust (via its Trustee) can hold a direct small business... more »

(@anita.wildman)

Can government fix it

FBT and Cars - Logbook applies to a car (not employee)

I can not understand why a logbook is assigned to a car, rather than to an employee. Eg Salesperson uses car for 6mths 90% business, then admin person uses same car for 6mths at 10% business. Why do we not simply address the provision of each benefit to each employee based on the actual %? By having to apportion/average the % it is unfair to the salesperson/inappropriate for admin person. Then it gets more crazy,... more »

(@tanya69)

Too taxing: reducing red tape

PAYG income instalments - sending to ATO

For payg income instalments, if these are varied and/or it is applicable to choose Option 1 or 2 (due to new income assessment year), the original has to be signed and sent to the ATO by the due date for lodgement . My question is, why in this world of technically and online portals - that this form cannot be digitally signed and uploaded via a link in the business portal to the ATO. Why do we still need to post anything... more »

(@tanya69)

Sweating the small stuff

Extending BAS / payg income instalment deadlines QE March

I was wondering if it has ever been put to the table to extend the deadline of BAS & payg income instalments for QE March activity statements of BAS & payg income instalments. Why do I ask? Because for QE December there is an extension of one month offered due to the Christmas / New Year period and loss of working days. So why can't a pro-rata extension be offered for QE March of at least a week, bringing due date... more »

Voting

2 votes
2 up votes
0 down votes
(@leacalais)

Too taxing: reducing red tape

Removing S&W deductions from tax returns using tax cuts

Maybe as little as 10 years ago there used to be a lot of talk about removing the need for individuals to lodge tax returns. This talk seems to have disappeared in recent years. While I agree that the boat has probably sailed on that idea, I think there is a way to simplify individual tax returns by reducing the need for S&W individuals to claim work related expenses. This could be done using tax cuts to 'give' individuals... more »

Voting

0 votes
1 up votes
1 down votes
(@leacalais)

Too taxing: reducing red tape

Bright line tests for potentially capital expenditure

There are a number of categories of expenditure which can be either capital or revenue in nature (depending on case law) or are capital items with write off provisions attached (eg borrowing costs). Someone actually made this suggestion in the context of a senate inquiry a few years ago - why not simply have statutory maximums set for these kinds of expenses so that people can treat these items as revenue and write them... more »

Voting

2 votes
2 up votes
0 down votes
(@anita.wildman)

Too taxing: reducing red tape

Cut compliance - Borrowing Costs Threshold to be increased

Currently if your total borrowing expenses are more than $100, the deduction is spread over five years or the term of the loan, whichever is less. i.e. $20 per year - to me this is immaterial and a waste of time to require a whole process to keep track off/carry forward this information. It adds time/cost to the client to do it correctly. I think we should increase this to say $10,000. There is no loss to the revenue,... more »

Voting

2 votes
2 up votes
0 down votes
(@elinor.kasapidis.cpaaustralia)

What were they thinking

Redundancies after the age of 65 aren't 'genuine' – is it fair?

Subsection 83.175(2)(a) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 requires that the employee is dismissed before the day he/she turns 65 to satisfy the genuine redundancy provisions. The provision was inserted in July 2007 as part of the Tax Laws Amendment (Simplified Superannuation) Bill 2007. No mention of this provision was included in the Explanatory Memorandum, nor in the second reading speeches. The earlier Treasury... more »

Voting

6 votes
6 up votes
0 down votes
(@onesuperidea)

What were they thinking

Superannuation on resignation

When an employee leaves they are paid annual leave and long service leave, but no superannuation. This means that when an employer won't let the employee work out their leave, the employee misses out on the super. This is unfair and confusing. The super for the annual leave is confusing. Under the Fair Work Act 2009 Section 90 it says "If, when the employment of an employee ends, the employee has a period of untaken... more »

Voting

3 votes
3 up votes
0 down votes
(@moderatorboardoftaxationsecretariat)

Can government fix it

Treatment and remediation of excess super contributions

The Board has received the following suggestion during the course of its consultations. The existing process for the treatment and remediation of excess superannuation contributions is unfair and overly bureaucratic. Many directors with contributions multiple organisations and death and disability insurance find it difficult to comply with the existing caps. Where they don't they are required to be advised by the... more »

Voting

3 votes
3 up votes
0 down votes
(@michaelc)

What were they thinking

Adjusted income calculations - double counting of losses

Some odd outcomes can arise when working through adjusted income calculations for certain tax and other purposes. The problem seems to mainly arise when someone has a net investment loss for the year as well as an overall tax loss for the year. For example, for some purposes a taxpayer will need to calculate their 'income for surcharge purposes' (eg, to determine whether Division 293 applies, applying the private health... more »

Voting

2 votes
2 up votes
0 down votes
(@michaelc)

What were they thinking

ESS start up options held by associates

Amendments were made to the employee share scheme rules in 2015 to introduce concessions for small start up companies. If certain conditions are met, the discount provided in relation to shares / options is not included in the assessable income of the employee. Section 115-30 has been amended to ensure that for the purpose of the CGT discount, when options are issued under the start up rules the ownership period is not... more »