The Exposure Draft: Tax and Superannuation Legislation Amendment (Sunsetting Measures) Regulation 2014 amends various taxation and superannuation regulations to:
- repeal spent or redundant taxation and superannuation laws;
- consolidate duplicated taxation administration provisions contained in regulations under various taxation Acts into a single set of regulations made under the Taxation Administration Act 1953 (TAA 1953); and
- update the regulations to reflect changes proposed by Schedules 2 and 4 to the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Repeal Day) Bill 2014.
Most jurisdictions in Australia have automatic sunsetting regimes for legislative instruments. The Commonwealth legislative instrument sunsetting regime is set out in Part 6 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. This regime provides for instruments to sunset 10 years after their registration on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments unless the instrument falls within certain special categories of legislative instruments, the relevant Act modifies the sunsetting regime or Parliament passes a motion to extend the life of the instrument (‘rolling over’ the instrument).
Sunsetting is an important mechanism for the Australian Government to implement policies to reduce red tape, deliver clearer laws, and align existing legislation with current government policy by requiring ongoing review of legislative instruments.
In most cases, Australian Government agencies must plan for sunsetting well in advance of an instrument’s sunset date, as the process to review an instrument and implement any review recommendations for each instrument can be lengthy.
An initial review of instruments that are due to sunset is an essential part of the process. The review is to inform the rule-maker’s decision about whether the instrument should be left to sunset, be remade with amendments, be remade without amendments or be rolled over by the Parliament.
While instruments that are clearly spent or redundant do not require a thorough review, where it is not immediately apparent that an instrument serves no further function, a more comprehensive examination needs to be undertaken.
As part of Treasury’s initial review of the Income Tax Regulations 1936, a number of provisions in the principal law and regulations were identified as duplicative, inoperative or spent. A number of provisions contained in the regulations were also identified as being more appropriately incorporated into the primary law.
The Government introduced the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Repeal Day) Bill 2014 to implement the first tranche of reforms resulting from the review.
These regulations make similar changes to those contained in the Bill by consolidating duplicated regulations, repealing spent or redundant regulations and updating and modernising older regulations.