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The Government will improve the integrity of employee share schemes to ensure that income from these schemes is correctly reported by taxpayers. The measure will take effect with respect to shares and rights acquired from 1 July 2008.

Currently an employee can elect to be assessed on discounts provided on shares or rights in the year of income the shares or rights are acquired. If an election is not made, taxation of the discount (which includes gains on shares or rights) is deferred until a later time (such as when restrictions on the shares or rights are lifted).

The measure will ensure that the value of the discount (where it exceeds $1,000) is included in assessable income if a taxpayer elects to be assessed upfront. Where the amount is not included in the employee’s tax return, then the employee will be taxed under the deferral option. The Commissioner retains the power to allow a taxpayer an extension of time to make the election.

For a copy of the Treasurer's press release, No 2008/44, 13 May 2008, go here

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