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TAS Country : September 30th 2010
6 Tasmanian Country Friday, October 1, 2010 News Concession axe puts farmers in tax limbo THOUSANDS of farmers face uncertainty when the Australian Taxation Office revokes their primary pro- ducer status on October 28. The ATO has withdrawn a crucial tax concession that allowed farmers to retain their primary pro- ducer status, even if their farm or family trust had made a loss. One of Australia's largest accounting firms, WHK Horwath, has warned that many farming family trusts could get a rude shock at the end of this financial year. ''Without the con- cession, beneficiaries of farm trusts must receive an income distribution every 120 days to be de- fined as primary pro- ducers,'' WHK Horwath national tax director Tri- stan Webb said. The loss of primary pro- ducer status ends farmers' ability to average their incomes, use farm manage- ment deposits, gain the diesel fuel rebate or access drought assistance. Mr Webb said the ATO had to clear up the uncer- tainty surrounding the concession. He said unless this was done, farmers who re- ceived no income because their trusts made a loss, faced a huge tax penalty at the end of the 2010-11 finan- cial year. Questions have been ra- ised about the fallout if a trust makes a loss and whether the beneficiaries (farmers) would still be considered primary pro- ducers. The ATO said it had withdrawn the con- cession in response to a landmark High Court case in March, this year. ''As the practical im- pacts will be on the trust returns due after 30 June 2011, there is time for the ATO to provide advice for taxpayers before that time,'' an ATO spokesman said. However, Mr Webb said farmers would feel the im- pacts before their 2010-11 tax returns were due. ''It is correct that the practical impacts will be on trust tax returns due after 30 June 2011,'' Mr Webb said. ''However all these tax returns do is record what happened during the 2011 income year.'' Mr Webb said the criti- cal date that would affect farmers was 120 days into this financial year. ''It is not good enough for the ATO to say we'll worry about it next year when it comes time to lodge tax returns.'' Taxation Institute of Australia senior tax counsel Robert Jeremen- ko called for a ''legislat- ive fix'' to the problem. ''The Federal Govern- ment should grasp this opportunity to rewrite the trust income pro- visions of the tax law as part of their ongoing re- form process as recom- mended by Treasury head Ken Henry in his tax review,'' Mr Jere- menko said. The Weekly Times Life on the land is lots of hard work THE proof has arrived on what many farmers al- ready know --- agricultural workers put in the longest hours of any industry. The Bankwest Working Times Report showed full- time agricultural workers toiled an average 50.9 hours a week during the past year. It showed far- mers worked more weeks of more than 60 hours than any other industry. The report showed 35 per cent of farmers worked 60-hour-plus weeks. The next longest-working in- dustry was the mining sector, where 24 per cent of workers worked more than 60 hours per week. During the past 10 years farming was the only in- dustry not to decrease its working hours. The average Victorian full-time worker worked 1.2 hours less in the past year compared with 10 years ago, dropping from 42.4 hours a week to 41.2. Bankwest Business chief executive Ian Corfield said farmers worked longer hours than anyone else in Australia. The Weekly Times Advertisement Authorised by the Commonwealth of Australia, Capital Hill, Canberra For more information on how to get digital ready •Call1800201013 • Visit www.a ustralia.gov.a u/digitalready hy i tralia mo ing to digital o ee to date with te hnology • It s important that Australia keeps pace with worldwide changes in technology • Overseas programs are increasingly being produced in the digital format only • Australian TV shows need to be produced in the digital format to be easily exported overseas o free broad a t a e • In Australia TV is currently broadcast in both digital and analog signals • This is costly and inef cient • Turning off the analog signals will free up space that could be used for other services for the community o im ro e yo r iewing e erien e • icture and sound uality on digital TV is better • ictures on digital TV can be seen in widescreen • ou ll still have the same free to air channels plus some new ones so you ll have more choice
September 23rd 2010
October 7th 2010