They’re often tucked away in the fine print but each year the Federal Budget delivers a few unusual items that generally don’t make it into the Treasurer’s speech.
Among the raft of measures affecting banking – a levy and a new complaints body – is a personal sting for bank executives. The government will mandate that a minimum of 40 per cent of an executive’s variable remuneration, or 60 per cent for executives such as the CEO, be deferred for a minimum period of four years. The budget papers say this will affect bonuses but it will presumably apply to options and share agreements as well.
Gold trade fraudsters
The government aims to introduce legislation to stop gold traders from exploiting GST loopholes or committing fraud by receiving GST and not paying it, or claiming GST refunds when no GST is paid.
Removing double taxation on digital currency
From 1 July there will be no GST payable for people buying digital currencies such as Bitcoin, meaning digital currencies are treated the same as money.
Digital currency is currently treated as intangible property for GST purposes, so consumers who use it can effectively pay GST twice: when they buy the digital currency and again on its use in exchange for other goods and services subject to GST.
Tea tree oil
From 1 July the government will impose a levy of 25 cents per kilogram on tea tree oil sold domestically or exported, at the request of the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association. The levy will fund research and development.
From July 1 a levy on laying chickens will be abolished, from 1.4 cents per one-day-old chick. The money had been used to eradicate avian influenza, or “bird flu”.
Technology tax fraud
Tax cheats are using point-of-sale technology that modifies or deletes sales records in order to understate business income and avoid tax. The technology will be banned.
Don’t blame us, blame them
The government has had to drop A$13 billion of measures announced in the 2014 budget and afterwards because it has not been able to get them through the Senate. The measures are detailed in an appendix to Budget Paper No. 1 titled: Decisions taken as a result of Senate positions.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games
Government sport and recreation expenses are expected to rise 11.5 per cent to A$416 million in the coming financial year as funding to host the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast is increased, and to build a stadium in Townsville.
Tax relief for merging super funds
Mergers should improve efficiency and competitiveness and the government will continue to provide tax relief that would have lapsed on 1 July. Funds may transfer capital and revenue losses to a new merged fund, and defer taxation consequences on gains and losses from revenue and capital assets.
Sports that don’t get television coverage
Broadcasters will get A$30 million over four years to support the broadcast of under-represented sports on subscription television, including “women’s sports, niche sports and sports with a high level of community support and participation”.
Federal Budget 2017: This year’s winners and losers