Cap on education expense tax deductions scrapped as Government axes seven inherited tax policies

Education expense tax deductions will not be limited to a yearly $2000, part of a raft of Labor changes which will not proceed under the Coalition.

This announcement has shown the path the government will take in dealing with 92 proposed tax and superannuation measures announced but not legislated by previous governments.

Assistant treasurer Arthur Sinodinos said 18 measures would proceed, and three more would be “significantly” amended. Seven initiatives would be cut.

Removal of the statutory formula method of calculating the Fringe Benefits Tax on cars was to be removed by the former government, but will now to be kept, to the considerable relief of the salary packaging industry.

A $2.4 billion move to scrap Labor’s 15% tax on superannuation incomes above $100,000 has sparked a storm, with the Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney calling it a “tax break for the rich” and while Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia chief executive Pauline Vamos welcomed it for giving “certainty”, she acknowledged the average Australian “may think it unfair”.

Sinodinos said “the complexity and compliance costs associated with this initiative are extreme and essentially undeliverable”.

Changes to so-called ‘25-90 deductions’ will not proceed. The changes announced by the previous government permitted a deduction on interest expense on borrowings used to derive certain types of foreign-sourced incomes. Tax Institute tax counsel Stephanie Caredes said the changes affect multinational businesses, but some SMEs could have been affected.

“It was a huge over-reach,” she says.

Sinodinos has set a December 1 deadline for resolving the 64 outstanding changes “with a disposition not to proceed” and aims to have them pass Parliament by July 1 next year.

One of those measures relates to how the tax regime deals with earn outs, a contingency that is negotiated during business sales when its value is not fully known.

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