Birchstone Brief for the week ended 22 January 2021

ATO Updates

ATO issues Interim Decision Impact Statement: Apted v FCT [2020] AATA 5139

The ATO has issued an Interim Decision Impact Statement on the decision handed down in Apted v FCT [2020] AATA 5139. In this case, the AAT determined that a taxpayer’s backdated ABN registration satisfied the requirement of having an active ABN as at 12 March 2020 to qualify for Jobkeeper payments. The ATO’s Interim Decision Impact Statement states that ‘the decision is inconsistent with the Commissioner’s view in respect of all key issues considered by the Tribunal’.

State Taxes

NSW: Guidelines for COVID-19 land tax relief

Revenue NSW has published guidelines on land tax relief available to landowners who have provided rent reductions to tenants impacted by COVID-19. The 2020 land tax relief is available to eligible residential and commercial landowners up to a maximum of 50%, and the 2021 land tax relief is available to eligible commercial landowners up to a maximum of 25%.

ACT: Payroll tax exemptions extended

The ACT Revenue Office has issued 2 determinations to extend the payroll tax exemptions for qualifying employers that have been impacted by COVID-19 to 30 June 2021. The extended exemptions apply to eligible employers who have not been able to operate their business due to the ACT restrictions, and to wages paid to eligible apprentices and trainees.

VIC: 2021 land tax relief measures

The State Revenue Office Victoria has provided information (including in relation to the eligibility criteria and application process) for the following 2021 land tax relief measures:

  • Land tax reduction and deferral for eligible landlords; and
  • Vacant residential land tax waiver.

Other News

New software-specific R&D Tax Incentive

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has called for an industry-specific R&D Tax Incentive for the software development sector, saying the current system is impeding investment and growth in the sector.

OECD updated guidance: COVID-19 – Tax treaties and transfer pricing

The OECD has published updated guidance on the impact of COVID-19 on the interpretation of tax treaties. The updated guidance outlines the application of the existing rules and the OECD commentary on concerns related to the creation of permanent establishments, the application of “tie-breaker” rules to dual residents and the tax treaty treatment of income from employment. The OECD has also published guidance on transfer pricing implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.



The Commissioner of Taxation has appealed to the Federal Court from the decision in Apted v FCT [2020] AATA 5139 (Backdated ABN for JobKeeper registration – summarised in the Birchstone Brief for the week ended 8 January and in the ATO’s Interim Decision Impact Statement discussed above).


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