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New approach to taxing employee shares welcomed by startups

A tax reform by the federal government will increase the scope of employers to issues employees with shares and stock options. Prior to 2009, employees receiving shares or stock options were able to defer paying tax, with many only paying CGT once they have disposed of the assets down the line. In order to increase budget revenue, the Labour government changed this arrangement, meaning that when an employee received shares, they incurred an immediate tax liability.

These restrictions meant that many startups often had to start paying employees higher salaries in order to retain talent. However, the benefits of startups being able to issues shares and stock options go beyond freeing up valuable cash flow. When employees have a stake in the future success of a startup commitment, motivation and engagement soar.

The federal government is considering a scheme modelled on a similar British approach, whereby the option to defer tax is limited to smaller companies. The Treasury is currently investigating what size thresholds will boost productivity without creating a problematic shortfall in budget revenue.

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What Are The Consequences Of Improperly Lodged Tax Returns?

May 4, 2021

With tax return season approaching quickly this year, you may have already started looking into lodging your income tax return. Ensuring that your details are correct and that any information about your earned income from the year is lodged is the responsibility of the taxpayer and their tax agent. However, if during this income tax return process the tax obligations of the taxpayer fail to be complied with, the Australian Taxation Office has severe penalties that they can enforce.

Australian taxation laws authorise the ATO with the ability to impose administrative penalties for failing to comply with the tax obligations that taxpayers inherently possess.

As an example, taxpayers may be liable to penalties for making false or misleading statements, failing to lodge tax returns or taking a tax position that is not reasonably arguable. False or misleading statements have different consequences if the statement given results in a shortfall amount or not. In both cases, the penalty will not be imposed if the taxpayer took reasonable care in making the statement (though they may still be subject to another penalty provision) or the statement of the taxpayer is in accordance with the ATO’s advice, published statements or general administrative practices in relation to a tax law.

The penalty base rate for statements that resulted in a shortfall amount is calculated as a percentage of the tax shortfall, or in the case of no shortfall amount, as a multiple of a penalty unit. This percentage is determined by the behaviour that led to the shortfall amount or as a multiple of a penalty unit, which are as follows:

If a statement fails to be lodged at the appropriate time, you may be liable for a penalty of 75% of the tax-related liability if:

To ensure that the statements, returns and lodgements are done correctly, and avoid the risk of potential penalties, contact us today. We’re here to help.