New bills target construction, share schemes

News

New bills target construction, share schemes

Extending the construction industry regulator’s compulsory witness powers and reversing changes to the taxation of employee share schemes were the focus of two employment-related bills introduced to Parliament yesterday.

WantToReadMore

Get unlimited access to all of our content.

Extending the construction industry regulator’s compulsory witness powers and reversing changes to the taxation of employee share schemes were the focus of two employment-related bills introduced to Parliament yesterday. 

Construction industry bill, compulsory examination powers


The Construction Industry Amendment (Protecting Witnesses) Bill 2015 was introduced by Minister for Employment Eric Abetz yesterday to extend the powers of the director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate to compel witnesses to give evidence beyond the current expiry date of 1 June 2015.

As the government hasn't got the support of Senate cross benchers for its bills to re-establish the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC), Abetz said this new bill would extend the current powers of Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC, formerly the ABCC) for a further two years.

He noted the powers were similar to those of other Commonwealth regulatory bodies including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink and Medicare.

Cross-bench senators will support bill

Cross-bench senators today announced they would support the government’s bill so FWBC will continue its existing role while the ABCC bills are debated.

Employee share scheme tax reversal 


The government also introduced a bill yesterday to make changes to the taxation of employee share schemes, with effect from 1 July this year. The Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (Employee Share Schemes) Bill 2015 will:
  • Enable companies and employees to defer tax on share options until they convert the options to shares, rather than having to pay tax when those options vest. Small Business Minister Bruce Billson said under existing arrangements employees could end up paying tax on their share options before they received any financial benefit from the options by converting them into shares and selling them, with no benefit to the employee. 
  • Allow eligible start-up companies to issue options or shares to their employees at a small discount, with the discount exempt (for shares) or further deferred (for options) from income tax. Changes to the taxation of employee share schemes made by Labor in 2009 had limited the provision of share options, particularly by start-ups. 
  • Extend the maximum time for tax deferral from seven years to 15 years.
In addition, the bill doubles the individual ownership limit from five to 10 per cent, which Billson says currently restricts employee ownership for those accessing the employee share scheme tax concessions.

See: Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (Employee Share Schemes) Bill 2015
 
Post details