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.

Can government fix it

Submitted by (@jenniferfay)

Making it easier to pay taxes

My idea is for a tax system that makes it easier for sole traders and small businesses to pay their taxes as they go without the worry of larger quarterly instalment bills and or large tax return bills. What I would like to see is a simple tax bracket system based on earnings as you go rather than predicting your future earnings which may not be accurate. For example for every invoice payment from a client received ...more »

Voting

1 vote
1 up votes
0 down votes

Too taxing: reducing red tape

Submitted by (@gcollie)

cryptocurrency registry or autofill function

Many inexperienced investors have plunged headlong into crypto investments, in many instances with little or no record keeping nor in some cases any knowledge of the tax treatment of their investments. It would be of great assistance to taxpayers to be able to maintain a registry of their crypto investments online, with the ATO, which could potentially calculate current liabilities. Similarly, akin to the existing autofill ...more »

Voting

1 vote
1 up votes
0 down votes

Can government fix it

Submitted by (@moderatorboardoftaxationsecretariat)

Allow TFNs to be transferred in a demerger

Under current arrangements shareholders of listed companies are asked to provide their TFN to the investee company. If shareholders do not provide their TFN, the company must withhold tax at the highest marginal rate on any non-fully franked dividends paid to these shareholders. In a demerger situation, the demerging company is not permitted to transfer the TFN of a shareholder that will also have or has a shareholding ...more »

Voting

1 vote
1 up votes
0 down votes

Too taxing: reducing red tape

Submitted by (@smdtag)

Expand foreign income reporting labels: add deductions label

Currently, labels on the income tax returns for reporting foreign income contain only "net income" and "gross income" for various income types. This hides the amount of deductions claimed against foreign income, and in case of individuals - against each income type. It also appears to overly complicate the reporting because the deductions need to be apportioned from D labels for individuals and/or subtracted from income ...more »

Voting

1 vote
1 up votes
0 down votes

Can government fix it

Submitted by (@centrumsolutions)

Tax robots equivalent to NES standards.

In the future taxation revenue may be down due to less manual workers and more automated robotics taking over blue collar jobs. Inevitably more people will be out of work and there will be greater dependancy on government services with potentially less revenue coming in from employee PAYE contributions. I propose to offset some of the lost revenue that the government introduce a automation taxed, where robots would be ...more »

Voting

1 vote
1 up votes
0 down votes

Can government fix it

Submitted by (@peter.j.somerville)

Variable Company Tax Rate

Intent: Income derived from goods and services provided in Australia are taxed in Australia. How: 1. Company tax is either (choice is made by the Company) paid on revenue (at a low rate, say 1%) or profit (at a higher rate, say 30%). 2. Deductions are only allowed for domestic goods or services. Impact: 1. Foreign companies will create domestic companies (“Domestic Shells”) to service other domestic companies so that ...more »

Voting

1 vote
1 up votes
0 down votes

Can government fix it

Submitted by (@smdtag)

Repeal s82A ITAA36 - there is no apparent policy basis for it

There is no apparent policy basis for the $250 reduction in the claim for the self-education expenses. Section 82A ITAA36 creates a set of comparatively complex rules and definitions that impact on the deductibility of self-education expenses. The view is that these rules achieve nothing apart from added complexity. The aim it intends to achieve is not clear and nowadays the $250 is not going to go far in terms covering ...more »

Voting

1 vote
1 up votes
0 down votes

Can government fix it

Submitted by (@ianlwallace)

Personal Income Tax Return processing - time saver

Recommend Private Health Insurance rebate percentages be adjusted, if necessary, as at 30 June each year rather than current onerous 31 March, to reduce the unnecessary volume of extra information processed in almost every personal income tax return! Recommend the Department of Health (or those responsible for the related legislation) be reminded of our financial year end date , being 30 June, so they can align their ...more »

Voting

1 vote
1 up votes
0 down votes

Tell it to the Tax Office

Submitted by (@brianw)

Unpaid SGL

Unpaid SGL I have found attempting to assist a 22 year client be paid their SGL entitlement for two years work that often involved 50 hour weeks , 6 days a week has been futile. I have a chain of emails of 4 pages long to and from various ATO divisions, the appropriate Ombudsman and our local politician. Despite providing names of the directors and the company name, phone numbers of current business and the directors ...more »

Voting

1 vote
1 up votes
0 down votes

What were they thinking

Submitted by (@michael.flynn)

Absolute entitlement

If a beneficiary is absolutely entitled to a trust asset, they, rather than the trustee, are required to return any capital gain, or claim any capital loss from a CGT event that happens to the asset. A common example that illustrates the significance of this concept is that of a nominee who holds shares on behalf of a principal. If the principal directs the nominee to sell the shares, the principal returns the capital ...more »

Voting

2 votes
2 up votes
0 down votes

Can government fix it

Submitted by (@gtho351)

Superannuation Guarantee Ruling SGR 2009/2 - Update to OTE

There seems to be some outdated exclusions as to what is included as OTE 1. Make-up payments for Jury Service are not included in OTE for SG purposes, disadvantaging employees when they are compulsorily attending Jury service (Para 37. An employee may receive 'top-up payments', such as those made while serving on jury duty or with defence reserve forces, that make up some or all of the difference between any amount ...more »

Voting

1 vote
1 up votes
0 down votes

Can government fix it

Submitted by (@moderatorboardoftaxationsecretariat)

Excess Superannuation Tax

The Board has received the following suggestion during the course of its consultations. The current provisions around excess superannuation tax are bureaucratic and cumbersome especially for non-executive directors with the decision to include death and disability insurance in the superannuation contributions cap. Many persons will inevitably be in breach of the cap, especially those receiving multiple group certificates. ...more »

Voting

1 vote
1 up votes
0 down votes