Peter Costello

Media Releases

Uniform Capital Allowances System - Release of Revised Exposure Draft Legislation

NO.031

Uniform Capital Allowances System - Release of Revised Exposure Draft Legislation

Today the Government is releasing further exposure draft legislation on the Uniform Capital Allowance (UCA) system. The exposure draft package comprises the main bill to give effect to the UCA and a bill containing transitional and consequential provisions which has not been previously released.

The UCA legislation reflects the GovernmentÂ’s commitment to simplifying the tax law by streamlining the tax treatment of depreciating assets. The UCA system applies to all taxpayers, except those small businesses that participate in the Simplified Tax System. It is a set of common principles that consolidates and replaces more than 27 separate capital allowance regimes in the existing tax law. These principles allow taxpayers to calculate deductions for the decline in value of depreciating assets that they hold.

The UCA legislation is due to begin on 1 July 2001. To provide taxpayers with the greatest opportunity to familiarise themselves with the proposed law before the legislation is introduced into Parliament, the Government is releasing this package today. In particular, this should enhance taxpayersÂ’ understanding of the new rules applying to the deductibility of existing expenditures, since these rules have not been previously released in draft form.

An exposure draft of the main UCA Bill was released on 18 December 2000. The revised exposure draft of the bill incorporates changes that reflect many of the submissions received.

Comments on the new transitional and consequential provisions should be received by 18 May.

The UCA Bill will also contain a rule to prevent taxpayers obtaining artificially accelerated deductions in circumstances where they acquire the asset from an associate or where the end user of the asset does not change. To limit these artificial deductions, Division 42 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 will also be amended so that this rule begins from 10.00 am Australian Eastern Standard Time today.

From that time, the new owner of plant and equipment which is acquired from an associate or where the end user does not change (such as the sale and leasing back of plant and equipment) must use the same depreciation method as the previous holder. Where the diminishing value method is used, the same effective life must be used as that which the previous owner used, while the same remaining effective life can be used where the prime cost method is used. Where the end user does not change and taxpayers are unable to obtain information on the previous method of write-off, the diminishing value method and Commissioner's safe harbour effective life rate can be used.

The draft legislation and explanatory statement can be obtained from the Treasury website (www.treasury.gov.au/businesstax)

Comments should be sent to:

Assistant Commissioner
Intangibles/Physical Assets
Australian Taxation Office
PO Box 900, CIVIC SQUARE ACT 2608.

Or can be emailed to capital.allowances@ato.gov.au.

Additional information on the exposure drafts can be obtained from the Business Tax Reform Information Line on 1300 137619 or the Treasury website.

Canberra
9 May 2001

Contacts: Neil Ferry
Treasury
(02) 6263 4400

Chris Sheehan
Australian Taxation Office
(02) 6216 2039

9 May 2001

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