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Issue 781, 27 October 2020 
In this issue: 

 

Miscellaneous tax and super amendments: consultation 

Treasury has released a new package of proposed amendments to a range of tax and superannuation legislation. 

According to the explanatory material, the amendments are intended to correct technical or drafting defects, remove anomalies and address unintended outcomes. 

Of particular relevance to superannuation, these include amendments to: 

The commencement dates for the proposed amendments vary – some will apply retrospectively from the commencement of the underlying reforms to which they relate, and others will apply prospectively. 

If you have any comments you would like ASFA to consider in relation to this consultation, please forward them to Julia Stannard by close of business Tuesday 10 November. 

 

 

Virtual meetings and electronic document execution: consultation on permanent relief 

Treasury is consulting on amendments to modernise aspects of the Corporations Act 2001, in relation to virtual meetings and electronic document execution. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has provided temporary relief from aspects of the Corporations Act, to ensure that companies can validly execute documents electronically and can conduct virtual meetings. That relief is temporary and is due to expire in March (see ASFA Action issues 776, 769 and 754 for background). In its 2020-21 Budget, the Government announced that it would consult on making the relief permanent, as part of its digital business plan (see ASFA Action issue 779). 

Treasury has now released a draft of proposed amendments to give effect to this announcement, for a very brief consultation. Under the amendments, set out in the draft Corporations Amendment (Virtual Meetings and Electronic Communications) Bill 2020, electronic means or alternative technologies may be used to: 

The amendments will be relevant to the way in which superannuation trustee companies manage their general obligations under the Corporations Act. 

Treasury is seeking comments by close of business 30 October. 

 

 

Payment Times Reporting Scheme: impact on superannuation funds 

The Government has legislated a new regime to require large businesses—including superannuation funds—to report on their small business payment terms and times, via a public Payment Times Reports register. 

The Payment Times Reporting Act 2020 and the Payment Times Reporting (Consequential Amendments) Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 14 October. 

Together, the Acts create a new Payment Times Reporting Scheme which requires large businesses and government enterprises to publicly report every six months on their payment terms and practices for their small business suppliers. The objective of the Scheme is to improve payment outcomes for small businesses by creating transparency around the payment practices of large business entities. 

Some key points to note in relation to the coverage of the Scheme include: 

Reporting entities will be required to report data including their shortest and longest payment periods at the start of each reporting period and the proportion of their small business invoices paid within different payment time brackets. 

The Scheme will commence on 1 January 2021. For entities with a 30 June year end, the first report will be due in respect of the six months ending 30 June 2021. 

Civil penalties will apply for non-compliance however a ‘graduated approach’ to enforcement will be adopted, including an 18-month penalty-free transition period. 

The Scheme will be administered by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, which consulted on proposed Rules to support the Scheme earlier this year. 

 

 

COVID-19 Coronavirus: changes to APRA ERI and pandemic data collection 

APRA has announced changes to its Early Release Initiative (ERI) data collection and COVID-19 Pandemic Data Collection (PDC), including reduction in the data to be collected and some lodgment deferrals over the December-January holiday period. 

APRA has published updated ERI reporting requirements. These indicate that the weekly ERI reporting will continue through to 31 January, given the time lags that occur for applications to be received by registrable superannuation entities (RSEs) from the ATO and for RSEs to then complete payment. APRA has outlined deferred lodgment of data for the weeks ending 27 December to 24 January, reflecting the operational shutdowns expected over the holiday period. 

APRA has also published updated frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the PDC. These indicate that APRA has considered these data collections beyond 30 September 2020 with some data areas to continue to be collected and others to be discontinued (subject to any further developments). In particular, beyond 30 September, only certain sections of the monthly and quarterly PDC reporting will continue, through until 31 January. 

APRA will provide further information on how RSEs should complete the data reporting forms “in due course”. 

 

 

COVID-19 Coronavirus: early release of super – APRA data 

APRA has made its twenty-sixth weekly publication of industry-level data from its early release initiative data collection. 

The data covers applications made from inception of the early release initiative on 20 April. The data shows that from 20 April to 18 October: 

APRA has also published the twenty-fifth tranche of fund-level statistics from its early release data collection, revealing the number and value of the payments processed by each fund, as well as the time taken to make payments. 

 

 

ASFA REGULATORY WATCHLIST

ASFA’s Regulatory Watchlist (ARW) tracks developments in Legislation, inquiries, consultations

and other regulatory announcements relevant to superannuation.

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