ATO won’t be flexible with transaction timing because of COVID-19

By Craig Hong, Director at Hillhouse Legal Partners
| 3 min. read

Key takeaways

  • While there are a number of extensions and special rules in place, there is almost no possibility of the ATO being flexible when it comes to determining which tax year a transaction took place.
  • If you want a transaction to fall in this financial year, it has to be undertaken prior to 30 June. You can’t undertake it in July or August and try to shift it back into the 2019-20 financial year.
  • If your accountant recommends changes to your structure or that you need to perform a transaction this financial year, you need to instruct lawyers to start it urgently.

 

While there are a number of areas where the ATO and other government agencies are making special dispensations because of COVID-19, the end of financial year almost certainly will not be one of them.

Everyone has rightfully been focusing on triaging their businesses as a result of the pandemic and may not have been considering that 30 June is rapidly approaching. Now is the time to urgently consider your end of year tax planning and any changes that are required to be implemented this financial year.

There is little to no possibility of the tax office being flexible when it comes to  determining which tax year a transaction takes place. The 30 June deadline for tax affairs will not change.

If you require a particular transaction to fall into this financial year, you have to undertake the transaction this financial year. You can’t perform a transaction or structuring change in July or August 2020 and then ask it be treated as falling in the 2019-20 financial year.

So as the days of June quickly tick by, if you have not already seen your accountant for tax planning, you need to do so urgently.

If your accountant recommends changes to your structure or that you need to perform a transaction this year, you need to then instruct lawyers to document and facilitate it urgently.

There can often be other hurdles to performing a transaction such as bank approvals and other requirements, release of securities, government approvals and third party consents, so you need to have the transaction looked at sooner rather than later otherwise you run the risk of being unable to enter the transaction prior to 30 June.

You can’t just assume that you can instruct someone on June 28 or 29 and complete it for June 30.

If you need to discuss or clarify any of this information, call me on 07 3220 1144 or send an email to [email protected].

The information in this blog is intended only to provide a general overview and has not been prepared with a view to any particular situation or set of circumstances. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. While we attempt to ensure the information is current and accurate we do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the information in this blog as it may not be appropriate for your individual circumstances.