Australia at a glance – May 2021

These emails are designed for those investing into Australia and those who have plans to do so. We aim to keep the points short and sweet, and to merely list snippets of relevant but easy to read information.

May 2021

  1. All Australian companies are legally required to have an ‘ordinarily resident’ director – a director who resides in Australia.
  2. Australia operates a full self-assessment system, under which the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) does not review income tax returns on submission, but has wide-reaching audit powers to monitor compliance.
  3. Workers’ compensation is a form of mandatory insurance applicable in each state or territory. An employer must have cover for themselves and their employees in case they are injured whilst at work or become sick due to their work.
  4. Australia has three time zones. Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra are always in the same time zone and are either 9, 10 or 11 hours ahead of the UK. Brisbane is in the same time zone as those three – but not when they go over to ‘daylight saving’ (summer time). Adelaide and Darwin, and then Perth, are another story.
  5. The requirement to have an Australian resident public officer is set out in the tax legislation (it is not a company law position).
  6. Where a company does not meet its salary tax withholding and superannuation guarantee charge (SGC) obligations (a type of pension), the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) may recover these amounts personally from a director of the company.
  7. The Australian tax year, for both companies and individuals, commences on 01 July. Companies can request a different year end, a so-called ‘SAP’ (Substituted Accounting Period).
  8. Under Australian tax law, non-cash benefits provided to an employee, such as accommodation or a motor vehicle, are subject to Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT). The FBT tax rate is 47% and is payable by the employer (not by the employee).
  9. The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is a non-statutory body established in 1976 to advise the Treasurer and the Government on Australia’s Foreign Investment Policy and its administration. The FIRB examines proposed investments in Australia by non-residents.
  10. Cane toads, considered an extreme threat to Australia’s ecological environment, were introduced in 1935 and currently have an estimated population of over 200 million.

This message is not given in the form of an opinion, legal opinion or tax advice. If any of the information provided is of interest or relevance to you or your company we would strongly recommend you contact us or another qualified professional for specific advice. 

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