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The government has announced that, in an endeavour to support innovative Australian start-up companies and to bolster entrepreneurship, it will reform the current tax treatment of employee share schemes. Employee share schemes give employees a financial share of the company’s potential success and can be used as an incentive by start-up companies to attract and retain high-quality staff. Changes to the tax treatment of employee share schemes that were introduced by the Government in 2009 have effectively brought to a halt the use of such schemes for start-up companies in Australia.

The ATO has issued a notice advising that it will obtain details for the period 20 September 1985 to 30 June 2016 from various share registry services. The type of data the ATO will collect will comprise of contact details, purchase and sale details, and quantities of shares bought and disposed of. It is projected that more than 95 million records will be obtained, including the records for approximately 1.2 million taxpayers.

Project DO IT is an opportunity for taxpayers who have engaged in previously unreported offshore financial activities to get their tax affairs in order. Increased international collaboration means the net is closing in on tax evaders around the world. In recent years, information sharing between countries has improved significantly.

With the end of the financial year just around the corner, it’s time to reflect and put finances in order for the coming year, whether you're a business owner, employee or individual investor.