Tax News for Primary Producers

Read our latest update on tax news for primary producers that includes tax support services for drought affected communities and a register of foreign investments in agricultural land.

Tax support service for drought affected communities

The government has announced a new service to help drought affected communities manage their tax affairs when times are tough.

The ATO will work with the Department of Agriculture to identify drought-affected taxpayers, and will provide personalised assistance and customised support plans for business owners and communities in these areas.

With the establishment of a dedicated hotline for drought affected taxpayers on 13 11 42, people who need support can discuss their situation and available options to help them manage their tax obligations.

Help options can include payment plans tailored to individual circumstances, including interest-free periods and extensions of time to pay tax bills or make lodgements.

The ATO has also undertaken to get in contact with businesses in drought- affected communities to make sure they are aware of the options available to help them meet their obligations.

The ATO will visit some regional towns and centres to provide face-to-face support, as well as hold ‘town hall’ style meetings.

Ref: Treasurer’s Media Release – 21 July 2015

Register of Foreign Investment in Agricultural Land

From 1 July 2015, all foreign investors who hold interests in agricultural land must register those interests with the ATO regardless of the value of the land.

The ATO will collect information such as the location and size of property and size of interest acquired on new foreign investment in agricultural land to develop a national register.

This data will be made available to the public from 2016.

All existing holdings must be registered with the ATO by 31 December 2015 and any new interests registered within 30 days.

Additionally, since 1 March 2015, the screening threshold for foreign purchases of agricultural land by private sector investors has been lowered from $252 million to $15 million.

As a result, the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is reviewing an additional 30 proposals that would otherwise have avoided scrutiny. For foreign government- related entities and state-owned enterprises, the FIRB scrutiny threshold for all proposed investments, including in agricultural land, remains at zero.

Ref: Treasurer’s Media Release 29 June 2015