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On 16 September 2014 the OECD issued its paper on BEPS Action 6: Preventing the Granting of Treaty Benefits in Inappropriate Circumstances. This Alert summarises the main BEPS issues identified by the OECD and the way forward for taxation reform identified in the OECD paper.
On 16 September 2014 the OECD released an interim report on countering harmful tax practices in connection with Action 5 of its Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. This Alert summarises the key issues highlighted in the OECD's report.
On 16 September 2014 the OECD issued its paper on BEPS Action 1: Addressing the Tax Challenges of the Digital Economy. This Alert summarises the main BEPS issues identified by the OECD and the way forward for taxation reform identified in the OECD paper.
This week, the High Court handed down its decision in Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Barker  HCA 32 – unanimously ruling that the implied term of trust and confidence (Implied Term) is not part of Australian law and overruling the Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Barker  FCAFC 83 (Federal Court Decision).
The Queensland government has released consultation drafts of the Planning and Development Bill 2014 and the Planning and Environment Court Bill 2014, proposing to replace the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (Qld). The Bills seek to implement a new land-use planning and development assessment system to promote prosperity across the state.
This week the Full Federal Court unanimously overturned the decision to refuse ASICS's application to remove the liquidators of Walton Construction Pty Ltd, which had been appointed though a referral by the Mawson Group. The case presents a warning to insolvency practitioners who may find themselves overly dependent on a single source of referral work.
China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange has announced reforms to its foreign exchange administration in order to make it easier for Chinese individuals and companies to invest abroad.
After launching the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone nine months ago, the Shanghai government has released the Special Administrative Measures on Foreign Investment Access to the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (Negative List) (the 2014 Revision). The list seeks to reinforce the requirements set out in 2013 and to further relax controls on foreign investments into China.
The People's Bank of China has released the Administrative Measures for the Foreign Exchange Purchase and Sale Business Provided by Banks which will come into force on 1 August 2014. The Measures will clarify the definition of Business and adjust the supervision and management model to provide banks with greater autonomy and a simplified process to market entry and exit.
Last month the Chinese Ministry of Commerce published the Notice of Improvements on Foreign Investment Examination Management, introducing the capital subscription system into the registration of foreign invested enterprises. The Notice is specifically targeted at eliminating the statutory registered capital requirements previously imposed on FIEs.
Following legislation being introduced and passed over the past two weeks, the much anticipated Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 comes into effect today. Commonwealth entities, be they corporate or non corporate, need to comply with the new PGPA regime.
Yesterday the High Court delivered its highly anticipated decision in Williams v Commonwealth of Australia. The court unanimously held that the legislation is invalid in its operation with respect to a funding agreement between the Commonwealth and Scripture Union Queensland for the provision of chaplaincy services in schools.
The Full Federal Court decision in Hunger Project Australia has confirmed that an entity can be a 'public benevolent institution' without directly providing relief from poverty, sickness, disability, destitution, helplessness or other distress.
Significant changes to the current New South Wales stamp duty regime are expected following the introduction of the State Revenue Legislation Further Amendment Bill 2014 into the New South Wales Parliament on 29 May 2014 and the release of the New South Wales Budget on 17 June 2014.
Earlier this month, the Treasury of the Australian Government released a consultation paper on 'Providing Certainty for Contractual Loss Absorption Provisions in Regulatory Capital', seeking feedback on the need for legislative amendments to facilitate the effective operation of new prudential requirements on the loss absorbency of regulatory capital.
The US Government has moved to act on carbon emissions by requiring US states to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 30% by 2030. If implemented, the measure may lead to higher US coal exports and greater competition for Australian coal exporters, but may reduce incentives for US gas to be exported as LNG.
The Commonwealth Treasury has released a consultation paper proposing to extend to small businesses the same protection from unfair contract terms as have been given to consumers. The rationale for such an extension is that 'small businesses ... are commonly presented with standard form contracts and, like consumers, can lack the time and legal or technical expertise to critically analyse these contracts, and the power to negotiate.' (p1, Consultation Paper).
The Mineral and Energy Resources (Common Provisions) Bill 2014 (Qld) was introduced to Queensland Parliament on 5 June 2014. The Bill represents the first phase of the Queensland Government's Modernising Queensland's Resources Acts Program for the mineral resources, petroleum & gas, geothermal and carbon capture and storage industries in Queensland.
The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Amendment Instrument 2014 (No.3) (Cth) came into force on 1 June 2014, requiring reporting entities to make changes to their AML/CTF programs and customer due diligence procedures. The new rules follow extensive consultation by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.
The long-running dispute between genetically modified canola farmer, Michael Baxter, and his neighbour, organic farmer Steve Marsh, was watched closely by interested parties globally, and highlighted the growing conflict of interests and rights between organic and GM farmers. However, despite the importance of the judgment, the case has failed to provide any real certainty for the agribusiness industry.