Federal election race begins… Tax is a key battleground

Federal election race begins... tax battle

Jenny Wong reviews the key differences in tax policies of the two major parties at the start of the Federal Election race.

Director, Tax

KPMG Australia


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Man waving black and white chequered flag

On 9 May 2016, the Prime Minister made his way to the Governor General again and requested a double dissolution election to be held on 2 July 2016.

This means the 44th Parliament is now dissolved and any outstanding Bills and all other business before the House of Representatives and Senate, including committee inquiries, lapses.

Already there were two tax Bills that lapsed in the Parliament that was prorogued on 17 April 2016. These are the Bills dealing with the Commissioner’s statutory remedial power (2016 No.2 Bill) and reducing the tax offset rates available under the research and development tax incentive for the first $100 million of eligible expenditure by 1.5 percent (2015 No.3).

Key tax issues

So far, tax has been a key battleground for the major parties going into this election. Let’s look at the key tax issues:

  • Negative gearing: Labor said they would reform it but the Coalition has ruled out any reforms. 
  • Company tax rate cuts: Labor rejects company tax rate cuts for large businesses and wants to retain it to companies with turnover less than $2 million. 
  • Superannuation: Labor said they would block any retrospective changes to superannuation introduced by the Coalition 
  • Multinational Tax Avoidance: The Government outlined its legislative aims in the Budget last week. Labor’s focus is on tightening thin capitalisation rules and improve data matching rules.

The Government is now in caretaker mode and this means it cannot make major decisions without consulting the Opposition. However, it is fair to say we wouldn’t be expecting to see any major changes released by the Government or Treasury during this caretaker period.

Perhaps this period leading up the election will be a good time to catch up with some outstanding tax reading.

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