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Australia Consults On CGT Reform

The Australian Treasury is consulting on exposure draft legislation that would amend the capital gains tax (CGT) treatment of the sale and purchases of businesses involving certain earnout rights.

The legislation would give effect to the Government's December 2013 announcement that this measure, initially proposed by, but not enacted under the former Labor administration, would proceed. It does however amend the original scheme, to address concerns raised during a previous consultation.

Questions were raised as to how the new approach would interact with various CGT concessions, especially those for small businesses, and whether these concessions would be available without considerable complexity. The new exposure draft legislation addresses these issues by proposing that a subsequent payment received by the seller will be treated as part of the original capital proceeds (with interest and penalties suspended). This approach is fully consistent with the application of existing CGT concessions, the Treasury said.

It is proposed that the law will apply only from the date of the exposure draft's release, April 23, 2015. Prior to this date, taxpayers who reasonably anticipated the application of the original proposals will be protected. They will receive protection similar to that available to taxpayers who reasonably anticipated the enactment of measures announced by the former Government but scrapped by the current administration.

Earnout rights are rights to future financial benefits linked to the performance of an asset or assets after sale.

The closing date for submissions is May 21, 2015.



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