23 February 2016
Media Release - #2016011, 2016

In the role of: Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer [21 September 2015 - 18 July 2016]

Key tax changes to improve the system

Two measures have passed Parliament that improve the operation of Australia's capital gains tax regime, Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer said.

The measures in the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (Measures No. 6) Bill 2015:

  • Amend the capital gains tax (CGT) treatment of earnouts; and
  • Create a withholding obligation to improve compliance with Australia’s foreign resident capital gains tax regime.

The changes are part of the 92 un-enacted tax and superannuation measures that the Government inherited from Labor.

An earnout arrangement involves a sale or purchase of a business asset with a right to future financial benefits that is linked to the performance of the asset.

The change will allow payments under the earnout arrangement to be treated as part of the original value of the business assets for CGT purposes instead of CGT applying to the earnout itself. It will provide certainty and clarity for businesses entering into earnout arrangements.

The second measure improves the integrity of Australia's foreign resident CGT regime.

Voluntary compliance by foreign residents is extremely low. Compliance action is difficult once the transaction has been completed as the proceeds of sale may have been transferred overseas.

Under the measure, from 1 July 2016 buyers will be required to withhold and remit to the ATO 10 per cent of their payment, when they purchase certain Australian real estate from a foreign resident.

The foreign resident capital gains tax changes are expected to generate revenue of $330 million over the forward estimates.