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April 26, 2013

Deferral of abolition of NSW duties

The NSW Premier has announced that the following categories of NSW stamp duty, which were due to be abolished as from 1 July 2013, will continue to be charged indefinitely in order to fund education reforms:

  • transfer duty on unquoted marketable securities;
  • transfer duty on non-real (ie, non-land) business assets; and
  • mortgage duty (unless already exempt).

This means that duty will continue to be charged on transactions involving:

  • transfers of, or declarations of trust over shares in unlisted companies registered in NSW; units in unit trusts scheme where the register is maintained in NSW or, if outside Australia, then the manager is a NSW company or natural person resident in NSW; goodwill and intellectual property (including patents and trademarks) of a business carried on in NSW; statutory licences or permissions granted under Commonwealth law and exercised in respect of NSW; statutory licences, permissions or poker machine entitlements granted under NSW law; and
  • loans where security is granted over property wholly or partly in NSW, or the making of further advances where such mortgage or charge has already been granted.

More details are expected in the NSW State Budget.

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Posted 26th April 2013 by David Jacobson in Business Planning, Financial Services, Tax, Uncategorized

October 22, 2012

Super changes in Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook

The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook contains changes relating to superannuation accounts.

Changes to lost super accounts
The Government will introduce the following reforms:
•The account balance threshold below which inactive accounts, and accounts of uncontactable members, are required to be transferred to the ATO will be increased from $200 to $2,000;
•Interest will be paid at a rate equivalent to Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation from 1 July 2013 on all lost superannuation accounts reclaimed from the ATO; and
•The period of inactivity before an account of an unidentifiable member is required to be transferred to the ATO will be reduced from five years to 12 months.

The reforms to the transfer of lost accounts to the ATO will take effect from 31 December 2012. The ATO will use its data matching resources to match these lost accounts with members.

Deceased estates
The Government will amend the law to allow the pension earnings tax exemption to continue following the death of a pension recipient until the deceased member's benefits have been paid out of the fund.

This will benefit the beneficiaries of deceased estates by allowing superannuation fund trustees to dispose of pension assets on a tax-free basis to fund the payment of death benefits. It will also avoid the need for funds to rework tax calculations following the death of members in the pension phase.

These changes will apply to the 2012‑13 and later income years.

Super fund mergers
The Government will ensure that superannuation fund members are not disadvantaged where their benefits are rolled over within a fund or between funds. Currently, the superannuation tax laws provide for a ‘proportioning rule’, which is an integrity rule designed to remove individual members’ capacity to reduce their tax liability by manipulating the ‘taxable’ and ‘tax-free’ components of their superannuation benefits.

As an integrity rule addressing the behaviour of individual members, the proportioning rule was intended to apply only to transactions that are within the control of the individual members. The Government will introduce legislation, to apply from 1 July 2013, to clarify that this integrity rule does not apply to transactions that are beyond the control of individual members.

The Government will give merging superannuation funds greater flexibility by making the following changes to the taxation relief to support Stronger Super:
• backdating the taxation relief for mergers to apply from 1 October 2011;
• extending the relief to all revenue assets regardless of the net position of the entity;
• removing the 12-month rule which prevents certain losses from being transferred;
• ensuring that members transferred under MySuper retain the right to claim a personal tax deduction in the new fund.

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Posted 22nd October 2012 by David Jacobson in Financial Services, Superannuation, Tax, Uncategorized

June 21, 2007

Access card: second exposure draft bills released

The Minister for Human Services, Senator the Hon. Chris Ellison,
has released for public comment second exposure drafts of the Human Services
(Enhanced Service Delivery) Bill 2007 and the Human Services (Enhanced
Services Delivery) (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2007

The period for public comment on the draft Bills closes on Tuesday 21 August 2007.

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Posted 21st June 2007 by David Jacobson in Privacy, Uncategorized

June 14, 2007

Access Card: Voluntary Medical and Emergency Information

Chair of the Consumer and Privacy Taskforce, Professor Allan Fels
AO, has released the Taskforce's second report (pdf), on whether Voluntary Medical and Emergency
Information should be included on the customer controlled portion of the access card

The Taskforce initially believed that there was considerable in principle support for the use of the Access Card as a device to enhance the access to emergency and health data which could
assist in the treatment of individuals in situations of accident and emergency.

However the submissions revealed how complex and difficult this would be to achieve in a practical sense. The critical issues revolved around the validation of data entered; keeping this data current and accessing it physically in emergency situations.

The main criticisms were :
• the use of the Access Card for the storage of medical and emergency health data is a purpose so removed from the essential rationale for having an Access Card that this functionality should not be supported
• that recommendations which preclude future uses in the medical and emergency health services area should not be supported
• insufficient attention has been paid to the additional and special privacy protections which need to be accorded to voluntary health data which is recognised as having a higher degree of sensitivity than many other classes of data
• there are numerous technical or architectural questions which still remain to be resolved before any effective system involving the storage of medical and emergency health data could be implemented. 

The Taskforce recommended that:

  1. The Government should defer the possible implementation of this aspect
    of the access card program until such time as further consultation and
    consideration can be undertaken with a view to addressing the issues
    raised in this report;
  2. At the point of
    registration, card applicants should be given the opportunity to
    register their consent to be an organ donor on the Organ Donor Register
    managed by Medicare Australia, and also be given the option to have
    their organ donor status reflected on the Access Card.

The Minister for Human Services Senator Ellison said that the Government will defer the introduction of
the owner-controlled part of the chip until further consideration and
consultation has taken place.

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Posted 14th June 2007 by David Jacobson in Privacy, Uncategorized

June 11, 2007

Access Card delay

The Australian has reported that the Access Card legislation introduction will be delayed by up to 8 months (here and here): "legislation due to go before federal Parliament this month had been
delayed. Instead, a draft "exposure bill" will be released for public
debate in the next fortnight."

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Posted 11th June 2007 by David Jacobson in Privacy, Uncategorized

April 2, 2007

Access Card registration issues

The Chair of the Access Card Consumer and Privacy Taskforce, Professor Allan Fels
AO, has released the Discussion Paper on the Registration process.

In this Discussion Paper, the Taskforce has focussed on questions which it sees as directly related to, or immediately arising from, the central question of how to enrol, in excess of 16.0 million Australian citizens, permanent residents and other eligible persons and to provide them with their own Access Card before the scheme comes into full operation at some date in 2010.

The paper raises the fundamental question of what is the appropriate level of proof of identity that an applicant for an Access Card will need to establish in order to be issued with one.

It also discusses:

•managing address issues for persons who are chronically homeless
• security features related to data capture, transmission and storage
• particular issues related to people with religious/ethical objections to requirements of the Access Card registration process
• the methods of return of issued cards to cardholders
• commencement arrangements to activate operation of the Access Card
• the cancellation, suspension or deactivation of the card
• preferred replacement arrangements
• the specific issues faced by transgendered Australians
• the specific issues faced by people with mental illness or disability
• the specific issues faced in relation to the issue of cards to prisoners on release
• the inclusion of data about dependents, carers or people with powers of attorney on the card
• arrangements for the issue of the card, or amendment of its details, by Australians and other eligible cardholders living overseas.

paper was written by the Taskforce prior to the Senate Inquiry Report
being released .

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Posted 2nd April 2007 by David Jacobson in Privacy, Uncategorized

March 22, 2007

Access Card update

The  Minister for Human Services, Senator Chris Ellison, said following the release of the report of the Senate Committee Inquiry into the Human Services (Enhanced Service Delivery) Bill 2007:

“The legislation will now be presented as one package, to be introduced in June. This will mean members of the public can see the full detail of the legislation.”

“The Government is committed to providing ordinary Australians with a better health
benefits, veterans’ and social services system, and we remain on track
to rolling out the access card in 2008.”

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Posted 22nd March 2007 by David Jacobson in Privacy, Uncategorized

March 16, 2007

Access Card: Government responds to Senate Committee report

The Minister for Human Services, Senator Chris Ellison, said the Senate committee’s
recommendation to combine the first and second pieces of legislation
for concurrent consideration had merit, and on examination of the
committee’s report he agreed with this approach.

Senator Ellison was confident concerns raised by the Senate inquiry could be addressed.

Government remains committed to having the legislation passed this year
and ensuring the access card project delivers benefits for Australians
who use health, veterans and social services – and those Australians
who fund the provisions of those services,” Senator Ellison said

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Posted 16th March 2007 by David Jacobson in Privacy, Uncategorized

March 15, 2007

Senate Committee reports on Access Card

The Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee has released its report on the Human Services (Enhanced Service Delivery) Bill 2007 (Access Card).

The Committee considered that the bill needs to be combined with the second tranche of legislation into a consolidated bill to allow proper consideration of the access card proposal and provide safeguards.

The Committee concluded that the second tranche would need to deal with the following issues:

  • Whether the government should consider providing appropriate terminals or readers to those agencies and providers providing benefits and services to access card holders.
  • Whether the only mandatory information displayed on the surface of the card should be the card holder's name and that other information should be at the discretion of the card holder.
  • Whether the Commonwealth area of the chip should store existing agency identifiers and that these numbers should be used when linking a card to a participating agency database, rather than the access card number.
  • Whether the form and manner in which the register is to be kept should be set out in legislation and prohibitions such as keeping the register separate from other data bases should be expressly stated.
  • Whether the following determinations should be made by way of legislation or disallowable legislative instrument:

          (a) what proof of identity (POI) information and documents are needed for registration;
          (b) what proof of identity documents (or information about those documents) will need to be                     scanned and placed on the register; and
            (c) when applying for an access card, what 'other specified information' or documents that the                 secretary deems necessary: (i) to be satisfied of the applicant's identity, or (ii) to obtain                         information required for the card or the register (clause 23(2)(b).

  • Whether any proposals to appoint additional participating agencies should be made through legislative amendment of the principal act.
  • Whether access of law enforcement and security agencies to the information in the register should be specified in the access card legislation.
  • Whether any exercise of discretion by the secretary of DHS to grant law enforcement or security agencies access to the register should be reported to the Parliament, perhaps in the agency's annual report in such a way as not to compromise operational matters or national security.

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Posted 15th March 2007 by David Jacobson in Privacy, Uncategorized

March 2, 2007

Access Card update

The Human Services (Enhanced Service Delivery) Bill 2007 (now available at ComLaw) passed through the House of Representatives on 28 February and has been introduced into the Senate.

Peter Timmins at Open and Shut gives a detailed analysis of the debate so far.

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Posted 2nd March 2007 by David Jacobson in Privacy, Uncategorized
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