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Employers, don’t be the car parking fool come 1 April

Don’t be the car parking fool come 1 April 2020

Hayley Lock and James Trainor discuss Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2019/D5, released by the ATO.

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Hayley Lock

Partner, People Services

KPMG Australia

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Employers who provide car parking spaces for their staff, but do not currently pay fringe benefits tax (FBT) on this benefit, should immediately assess whether they would be impacted by a prospective change in the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) interpretation of the FBT legislation. The ATO sets out the proposed change in Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2019/D5, which is open for public consultation until 17 January 2020.

The key feature of the Draft Ruling is that from 1 April 2020, the ATO proposes to generally treat a car park that offers all-day parking (i.e. for at least six hours between 7am and 7pm) as a “commercial” car park for FBT purposes, even though the car park’s fee structure may discourage parking for that length of time by charging a much higher fee. Car parks adjacent to shopping centres, hospitals and airports would be common examples of this.

The importance of this change is that employers whose staff car parking facilities are both in the vicinity of the workplace, and within 1 kilometre of such a car park may consequently have to pay FBT on the taxable value of employees’ car spaces, when up until now they have not. A taxable car parking fringe benefit can only arise where there is a commercial car park within 1km of the employees’ car parking facility, and that commercial car park charges more than a threshold amount for all-day parking.

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