1 January 2018

  • Vacancy fees for foreign acquisitions of residential land – An annual vacancy fee imposed on foreign owners of residential real estate if the property is not occupied or genuinely available on the rental market for at least 183 days in a particular 12 month period. Foreign owners can avoid the fee by living in the property (or have a family member live in the property), leasing the property, or making it available for rent, for a total of 183 days in a 12 month period. Short term letting arrangements often won’t be sufficient to avoid the levy.
  • CGT concession for investments in affordable housing – The CGT discount will be increased for individuals who choose to invest in affordable housing. The current 50% discount will increase by 10% to 60% for resident individuals who elect to invest in qualifying affordable housing. Non-residents are not generally eligible for the CGT discount. This change is not yet legislated.

1 July 2018

  • Super concessions for downsizers come into effect – If you are over 65, have held your home for 10 years or more and are looking to sell, you can contribute a lump sum of up to $300,000 per person to superannuation without being restricted by the existing non-concessional contribution caps – $100,000 subject to your total superannuation balance – or age restrictions.
  • Using super to save for your first home – The first home savers scheme will enable first-home buyers to save for a deposit inside their superannuation account, attracting the tax incentives and some of the earnings benefits of superannuation. Home savers can make voluntary concessional contributions (for example by salary sacrificing) or non-concessional contributions (voluntary after-tax contributions) of $15,000 a year within existing caps, up to a total of $30,000. When you are ready to buy a house, you can withdraw those contributions along with any deemed earnings in order to help fund a deposit on your first home.
  • GST on low value imported goods – GST will apply to retail sales of low value physical goods ($1,000 or less) that have been imported into Australia and sold to consumers.
  • Who pays the GST on residential property & subdivisions – Property developers will no longer manage the GST on sales of newly constructed residential properties or new subdivisions. Instead, the Government will require purchasers to remit the GST directly to the ATO as part of the settlement process. This change is not yet legislated.
  • $20k immediate deductions ends – The $20,000 immediate deduction threshold for assets purchased by businesses with an aggregated turnover of under $10 million ends 30 June 2018.
  • Taxable payments reporting system extended to couriers & cleaners – Businesses in the courier and cleaning industries will need to collect information from 1 July 2018, with the first annual report required to be lodged in August 2019.
  • Single Touch Payroll – Single Touch Payroll reporting starts for employers with 20 or more employees. Employers will report payments such as salaries and wages, PAYG withholding and super information directly to the ATO from their payroll system at the same time they pay their employees.
  • Closing salary sacrifice loopholes to reduce super guarantee – Loopholes that enable employers to reduce the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions owed to employees by using salary sacrifice contributions will be closed. This change is not yet legislated.
  • Access to reduced company tax rate limited – Limits access to the 27.5% company tax rate by replacing the existing ‘carrying on a business test’ with a passive income test. Under the new rules, a company will not be able to access the reduced company tax rate if more than 80% its assessable income is passive in nature. This change is not yet legislated.
  • Wine equalisation tax rebate tightened eligibility – Wine producers will be required to own at least 85% of the grapes used to make the wine throughout the winemaking process and brand wine with a trademark.
  • No temporary budget repair levy – The Budget repair levy that imposed an additional 2% to the tax rate for every dollar of a taxpayer’s annual taxable income over $180,000 ends on 30 June 2018.