In media release No 2010/011, issued 18 November 2010, the Assistant Treasurer, Bill Shorten, said that fly-in/fly-out employees working overseas – and their employers – will have more certainty about their tax liabilities after the Government introduces legislation to extend an exemption from fringe benefit tax (FBT) for travel between their home and work site.
The legislation is consistent with an announcement made by the former Assistant Treasurer, Senator Nick Sherry on 1 April 2010, that stated "the current FBT exemption for fly-in fly-out arrangements that apply for domestic arrangements will be maintained and applied to Australian workers in similar situations involving international work."
This amendment will remove the possibility of double taxation of fly-in/fly-out benefits received by Australians working in remote locations overseas. It also ensures Australian workers are taxed consistently, regardless of whether they are working in remote areas in Australia or overseas.
This exemption will be backdated to 1 July 2009, when the tax changes to foreign employment income commenced.
The Assistant Treasurer also said that following discussions with industry, the Government has asked Treasury to develop a discussion paper to resolve long outstanding problems with the income tax treatment of non-cash benefits that have been highlighted by the changes to foreign employment income.