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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Removing GST on feminine hygiene products

On 3 October 2018, the Commonwealth, state and territory treasurers unanimously agreed to remove the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from ‘feminine hygiene products’ from 1 January 2019. GST has been applied to these products since its introduction in 2000. In recent years there has been considerable pressure to remove it. Read more...

Treasury Laws Amendment (Supporting Australian Farmers) Bill 2018
Australian Bureau of Meteorology, CC BY 3.0 AU, resized/converted jpg

Treasury Laws Amendment (Supporting Australian Farmers) Bill 2018

The Treasury Laws Amendment (Supporting Australian Farmers) Bill 2018 (the Bill) implements the Government’s announcement to allow primary producers to immediately deduct the cost of fodder storage assets. The measure is intended to assist farmers to future drought-proof their businesses by making it more affordable to invest in fodder storage. Read more...

International film investment in Australia: the Location Incentive Funding Program

The Australian Government has recently announced funding of $140 million over four years from 2019–20 to establish the Location Incentive Funding Program. A total of $35 million will be made available each year to ‘attract international investment to sustain Australian jobs in the film production and related industries’. This money will be administered through a competitive incentive program and will support, on average, two to three large budget international productions each year. The new Location Incentive Funding Program will complement the Location Offset, one of three existing tax incentives for screen production introduced in the 2007–08 Budget by the Howard G... Read more...

Changes to the Foreign Investment Review Board tax conditions

In February 2014, Treasurer Joe Hockey stated that the tax affairs of foreign investors would be taken into account when foreign investment proposals were considered by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). In February 2016, the Government announced that conditions aimed at ensuring ‘multinational companies investing in Australia pay tax here on what they earn’ would be applied by the FIRB to foreign investment proposals. Following consultations between Treasury, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and industry, in May 2016 the Government revised the tax conditions that will apply to certain foreign investment proposals. The revised conditions addressed concerns raised by... Read more...

Budget impacts of negative gearing

‘Negative gearing’ has been a topic of frequent debate. This flagpost summarises some of the estimates of the impact of negative gearing on the Commonwealth Budget. Read more...

The millionaires who pay no tax

In 2011–12 some people with incomes of over $1 million had taxable incomes less than $6,000, meaning they paid no tax. How did they reduce their incomes so much for tax purposes, and how are their affairs different from others with equally high incomes, but who paid tax on most of their earnings? And does this raise issues relevant to the Government’s aim to create ‘a better tax system that delivers taxes that are lower, simpler, fairer’? Read more...

Who exempts what from consumption taxes?

At the time the Goods and Services Tax was introduced, health, education and financial services and some food items (mainly fresh food), amongst other areas, were exempted from its reach.  Recently, several Coalition members and senators, as well as some economists, have called for the GST to be extended to some of these areas.   Read more...

Would Broadening the GST Necessarily be Regressive?

In his recent Sir Henry Parkes Commemorative Dinner speech the Prime Minister called for a review of Commonwealth/State financial relations in the context of either raising the States’ revenue base or passing some of their responsibilities to the Commonwealth.  Changing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is one of the options being considered by a Commonwealth/State officials group considering this matter. A number of Coalition members and senators are taking public stances in support of changing current GST arrangements.  Read more...

Offsetting business costs associated with the increase in fuel excise—Schedules 4 and 5 of the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (2014 Measures No. 6) Bill 2014

Fuel excise increased on 10 November 2014 as a result of the Government’s tariff proposals (the Excise Tariff Proposal (No. 1) 2014 and Customs Tariff Proposal (No. 1) 2014) that were introduced in the House of Representatives on 30 October 2014. The tariff proposals increased the fuel excise by specific amounts (0.457 cents per litre for liquid fuels on top of the existing 38.143 cents per litre) and also provide for biannual indexation to the consumer price index for excise from 1 February 2015. The tariff proposals are consistent with the announcement in the 2014–15 Budget of the re-introduction of biannual indexation to fuel excise. To have permanent effect a... Read more...

Australia tops the charts... in tax deductions

In the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s recently released ‘Reforming Tax Expenditures in Italy: What, Why, and How?’, Australia was found to forgo more revenue as a proportion of GDP than all other OECD nations. Although tax expenditures result in the government forgoing revenue, they have not been widely scrutinized and cannot be comprehensively measured. As a method through which specific groups, sectors, regions and activities receive a ‘myriad of discounts in the tax code’, tax expenditures continually arise as the subject of debate. Read more...

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