On 27 March 2018, the Government announced a package of measures to address risks to the corporate tax base posed by stapled structures and similar arrangements and limit access to concessions currently available to foreign investors for passive income.
The Government has today released for public consultation the first stage of exposure draft legislation and explanatory material giving effect to the announced measures.
This exposure draft legislation includes the following measures:
- taxing trading income that is converted to passive income at the corporate tax rate;
- amending the thin capitalisation rules to prevent foreign investors from using multiple layers of flow-through entities (i.e. trusts and partnerships) to 'double gear' their investments to generate more favourably taxed interest income;
- limiting the foreign pension fund withholding tax exemption for interest and dividends to portfolio investments only;
- creating a legislative framework for the existing tax exemption for foreign governments (including sovereign wealth funds), and limiting the exemption to passive income from portfolio investments.
The exposure draft legislation also includes:
- the concession for new, Government-approved nationally significant infrastructure assets; and
- transitional arrangements for new and existing investments.
The consultation period closes on 31 May 2018.
The Government invites interested parties to make a submission.