The Australian Treasury has launched a consultation on the tax consequences of the re-characterization of trading income derived through the use of stapled structures.
According to the Treasury's consultation document, "Over recent years there has been growth of arrangements to re-characterize trading income into more favorably taxed passive income which can have the effect of reducing the Australian tax applicable to that income in the hands of non-resident investors. The use of these arrangements, most commonly in the form of transactions within stapled structures, has grown significantly and expanded into new sectors, beyond their traditional use in the property and infrastructure sectors."
The Treasury said that stapled structures are created when "two or more securities are contractually bound together, such that they are not able to be bought or sold separately."
The document explains that the Treasury wishes to understand how Australia's tax system may have contributed to the use of stapled structures and other arrangements to re-characterize trading income. It adds that the Government intends to remove tax distortions and is keen to "develop a process for the transition of existing arrangements to any modified tax rules."
The consultation document outlines a number of policy options for removing the tax advantages of stapled arrangements, including:
The document also asks whether, if the tax advantages of stapled arrangements are removed, Australia would need a specific Real Estate Investment Trust regime to provide clarity for flow through tax treatment for real estate investments.
The consultation closes on April 20.
On July 10, 2018, officials from Kenya and Portugal signed a DTA.
On July 11, 2018, San Marino and the United Arab Emirates signed a DTA.
The UAE's Cabinet on June 13, 2018, approved DTAs signed with Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, and Turkmenistan.
A law to ratify the Azerbaijan-Morocco DTA was tabled before Morocco's Cabinet on June 14, 2018.
Qatar's Government on June 14, 2018, confirmed that it had completed its domestic ratification procedures in respect of a DTA signed with Argentina.
Ukraine's Cabinet on June 6, 2018, approved a law to ratify a DTA Protocol signed with the United Kingdom.
Luxembourg and Vietnam agreed to continue negotiations towards a DTA Protocol at a June 15 meeting.
Sweden's Parliament on June 7, 2018, approved an amendment to the country's DTA with Switzerland to clarify the scope of the term pension fund in the agreement.
Switzerland's lower house of Parliament on May 29, 2018, approved DTAs with Kosovo and Pakistan.
The Moroccan Government has approved for ratification a DTA with the Republic of the Congo, it announced on May 29, 2018.
Argentina has approved a protocol to its DTA with Brazil, the Argentinian Official Gazette reported on May 23, 2018.
Brazil's upper house of Parliament on May 30, 2018, approved a protocol updating the DTA with Norway.
Hong Kong and Finland on May 24, 2018, signed a DTA.
Legislation ratifying a new DTA between Russia and Japan was submitted to the Russian State Assembly (the Duma) for approval on May 22, 2018.
Vietnam and Macau signed a DTA on April 16, according to a statement released by the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance on May 11, 2018.
Talks are continuing on a DTA between Jordan and Switzerland, according to a statement released by Jordan's Foreign Ministry on May 14, 2018.
The Czech Senate approved a law to ratify the DTA with Ghana on May 17, 2018.
The Philippines-Thailand DTA entered into force on March 5, and the Philippines' DTA with Sri Lanka on March 14, the Filipino tax agency announced on May 17, 2018. They will be effective from January 1, 2019.
Jordan's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation met with Luxembourg's Finance Minister to discuss enhanced cooperation between the two countries in a number of areas and agreed to seek to conclude a DTA.
Uzbekistan and Lithuania are to engage in talks towards a DTA, Uzbekistan's state news agency reported May 9, 2018.
Two Georgian committees approved the text of a DTA with Saudi Arabia and forwarded it for ratification, according to a May 17 announcement on the Georgian parliament's website.
Hong Kong gazetted an order to ratify its DTA with Saudi Arabia on May 18, 2018.
Talks are continuing on a DTA between Turkey and Afghanistan, according to a statement released by Turkey's Ministry of the Interior on May 11, 2018.
A new DTA between Finland and Spain will enter into force in January 2019, according to a May 18, 2018, announcement from the Finnish tax authority.
Andorra and Cyprus have signed a DTA, Andorra's Government announced on May 18, 2018.