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MJA Updates

Senate Hearing Just Completed

February 25, 2015 Kris Gale

The Public Hearing into the Tax Laws Amendment (Research and Development) Bill 2013 by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee was held in Canberra earlier this afternoon.

The Committee consisted of Senators Bushby (Chair) and Bishop.

Statements were made and questions taken by Caltex, Deloitte and EY. Representatives from Treasury, the ATO and the Department Of Industry simply answered questions and did not have prepared statements. Two and a quarter hours were allowed for the hearing.

In the time available, most of the concerns regarding the Bill were able to be raised but there was little opportunity for analysis. MJA understands that the hearing was assembled at short notice and several parties who made public submissions were not provided with an opportunity to attend and were not made aware that the hearing was scheduled. The fact that the Committee consisted of two members only also points to the last minute nature of the proceedings.

The issue is a fundamental one. If the Bill is passed, Australia will have the only R&D tax jurisdiction in the world that excludes otherwise eligible participants on the basis of size. A dangerous precedent will have been set that signals that controlling the cost of the program is best done by removing legitimate R&D performers from the system. Hopefully, the outcome of today will be a great deal more considered consultation.

The Committee is due to report back to the Senate by 17 March. We will keep you informed of all developments.

Should you wish to discuss this matter directly, please do not hesitate to contact Kris Gale directly on 02 9810 7211.

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