January 14, 2018
Andrew Lovett


New rules to help directors save their company


Recent changes are outlined below:

July 1, 2022

  • Loss carry back for eligible companies extended to cover 2023 income year.
  • Professional firm profits diverted to the professional's spouse or other associates to be reviewed under new Tax Office guidance.
  • Corporate collective investment vehicle legislative regime introduced.
  • Temporary full expensing of depreciating assets extended to include 2023 income year.
  • Depreciable assets of a company joining a tax consolidation group have tax costs setting rules modified for assets depreciated under temporary full expensing rules.

December 9, 2021

  • Reduced Pandemic leave disaster payment of $750 per week made available through to 30 June 2022.

August 5, 2021

  • COVID-19 Disaster Payments are non-assessable non-exempt income in 2021 income year and later. Payments phasing out as vaccination rates increase.

July 1, 2021

  • New Investment Engagement Service launched for businesses planning significant new investments in Australia.
  • Tax Office small business independent review service made permanent for businesses with turnover < $10m, for income tax, GST, exercise, luxury car tax, wine equalisation tax and fuel tax credits. Requested  before amended assessment issued.
  • Small business income tax offset for individuals increased to provide a reduction of 16% for a tax payable up to $1,000.
  • Self-managed superannuation funds can now have six members, increased from four members previously.

July 1, 2021

  • Some COVID -19 state and territory business grants received by small and medium enterprises are non-assessable, non-exempt income for 2021 and 2022 income years.
  • Certain state, territory and local government financial support for individuals and businesses suffering COVID-19 impacts made exempt where businesses have turnover less than $50 million and only in eligible programs.

March 31, 2021

  • JobKeeper payments scheme ended.

October 5, 2020

  • Boosting apprenticeship commencements subsidy (up to 50% of apprentice's wages) is assessable income.

June 4, 2020

  • Homebuilder grant for new home or substantial renovation construction is not subject to income tax.

April 1, 2020

  • COVID-19 cash flow boost payments are not subject to income tax

The Government changed the Corporations Act in September 2017 to provide, so called, ‘safe harbour’ rules to help directors rescue their company if they are concerned that it can’t or may not be able to pay its debts when they fall due. The new rules soften the subsisting insolvent trading regime which sheets home to directors the personal liability for the debts a company incurs whilst trading at a time that it is insolvent and place a responsibility on directors to put their company into administration or liquidation.

Personal responsibility for a company’s insolvent trading debts applies:

  • to someone who is a company director at the time the company incurs a debt
  • where the director doesn’t prevent the company action that causes the liability to arise
  • where the company is insolvent, at the time, or becomes insolvent through the new debt(s)
  • where there were reasonable grounds for suspecting that the company was insolvent at that time and
  • where the director knew or should have known of the grounds for suspecting insolvency
  • but not where one of a few, limited defences apply to that director.

Now, directors have a much better ‘safe harbour’ from that personal liability for insolvent trading debts, if they:

  • act quickly to determine the company’s true financial position and seek appropriate advice
  • develop plans that are reasonably likely to better the company’s position as compared to the expected results that would arise after the immediate appointment of a liquidator, administrator or receiver
  • cause the company to only incur debts reasonably soon after starting to develop the plans, directly or indirectly relating to plan implementation and only for so long as the improvement in the company’s position remains reasonably likely
  • maintain all necessary books and records
  • pay employee entitlements
  • keep up with tax reporting, and
  • keep satisfactory evidence of meeting these criteria.

The ‘safe harbour’ will come to an end if the director does not take the planned course of action to improve the position of the company within a reasonable time, the course of action ceases or becomes unlikely to improve the position of the company or an insolvency professional is appointed.

Where a company has had a pretty good record with paying employee entitlements, lodging activity statements and tax returns, the new ‘safe harbour’ rules may allow leeway for one or two late payments/reports in a twelve-month period.

If the plan does not work out and the company does proceed into administration, liquidation or receivership, the director must furnish the books and records required by the insolvency practitioner or else the ‘safe harbour’ will not be available to them.

Where a company director begins to suspect that their company may be insolvent they should act quickly and seek immediate advice about these new rules and the formulation of such a course of action to improve the company’s position.

Andrew Lovett

8 January 2018

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Disclaimer: We believe this information to be correct at the time of publication. It is general in nature, for guidance only and is not intended to be personal advice. It should not be relied upon without obtaining professional advice regarding your direct circumstances. No responsibility can be accepted by any publisher, author, editor, contributor or consultant for loss occasioned directly or indirectly to any person acting or refraining from acting wholly or partly upon or resulting from the material in this publication nor for any error in, broken link or omission from the publication.

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