The Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth
Laws-Superannuation) Act 2008 is the first of three bills to
receive royal assent in part of a package of legislation to ensure
equal treatment under commonwealth laws for same-sex couples.
The Act primarily allows inheritance rights to same sex spouses
rather than superannuation payments previously only being granted
Other bills waiting to receive royal assent are the Same-Sex
Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—
General Law Reform) Bill 2008 and the Family Law Amendment (De
Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures) Bill 2008 which amends
the Family Law Act 1975 to provide for opposite-sex and same-sex de
facto couples to essentially be granted many of the same rights
under law as married couples.
Collectively, these bills are designed to remove significant areas
of discrimination against gay men, lesbians and same-sex couples in
areas of tax, social security, health and employment, however they
also affect the situation of opposite- sex unmarried couples in
For the purposes of these bills, a person is said to be in a de
facto relationship with another person if they have a relationship
as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis but are not
married or related to each other. So it thereby includes same-sex
domestic and sexual relationships.
This is relevant to employers because the bill creates a new
definition of 'spouse' which will be used in the Income Tax
Assessment Act - which can affect the tax situation of your
temporary visa holders.
If you are sponsoring a temporary resident living in Australia,
you are primarily liable for any tax liability that remains unpaid
when they permanently depart Australia.
If your 457 visa holder has a spouse that is an Australian
resident within the meaning of the Social Security Act 1991, that
individual will be treated as an Australian tax resident and
subject to tax on their worldwide income and gains.
At present the new definition of spouse is broad and includes
"a party to a de facto relationship". As the definition
of spouse now includes de facto couples and same sex partners, more
temporary residents may automatically become Australian residents
for tax purposes.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The income tax treatment of any property lease incentive will vary, depending on the nature of the inducement provided.
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