On 17 July 2014, International Tax Agreements Amendment Bill 2014 was introduced into the House of Representatives.
The following is extracted from the Explanatory Memorandum.
PART 1 of SCHEDULE 1 of this Bill amends the International Tax Agreements Act 1953 (Agreements Act 1953) to give the force of law in Australia to the Convention between Australia and the Swiss Confederation for the Avoidance of Double Taxation with Respect to Taxes on Income and its Protocol (the Swiss Convention), which was signed in Sydney on 30 July 2013.
Once in force, the Swiss Convention will replace the Agreement between Australia and Switzerland for the Avoidance of Double Taxation with Respect to Taxes on Income and Protocol (the existing Swiss Agreement), which entered into force on 13 February 1981.
The Swiss Convention must first enter into force. For entry into force, Australia and Switzerland are required to provide notification to each other on the completion of the necessary domestic procedures. Once the Convention enters into force, it will take effect in Australia in four stages, namely:
- in respect of fringe benefits tax, on fringe benefits provided on or after 1 April next following entry into force;
- in respect of withholding tax on income derived by a resident of Switzerland, on income derived on or after 1 January next following entry into force;
- in respect of other Australian tax, on income, profits or gains derived in the income year beginning 1 July next following entry into force; and
- in respect of exchange of information, to information that relates to taxation or business years in course on, or beginning on or after, 1 January next following entry into force.
PART 2 of SCHEDULE 1 makes a number of minor amendments to the Agreements Act 1953.
An amendment is made to clarify that any reference, in an international agreement, to the concept of 'immovable property' having its Australian domestic law meaning, includes a reference to real property. This amendment will apply to the reference to immovable property in Article 6 of the Swiss Convention. It is also intended that the amendment will apply to any future agreements that use the same concept. None of Australia‘s current international agreements use the term 'immovable property' exclusively.
Part 2 of Schedule 1 also makes a number of minor amendments to add notes containing the Australian Treaty Series citations for a number of recently enacted agreements.