I posted recently regarding the announcement of the change in the taxation laws pertaining to agriculture schemes.

Not surprising our politicians screamed like “stuck pigs” as they have obviously have interests in this area as well. So things have been delayed for a while.

Tax breaks on agricultural schemes extended for a year

THE Federal Government has caved in to industry pleas for a transition period before the abolition of lucrative tax lurks on agricultural investment schemes.
A shock announcement eight weeks ago by the Assistant Treasurer, Peter Dutton, that tax concessions on the schemes would be abolished from July 1 was met with anger from government backbenchers and industry groups,which argued it would cost thousands of jobs.

Companies will now have until July 1 next year to get approval from the Tax Office to establish new non-forestry managed investment schemes. These schemes allow investors to claim as tax deductions their investment in non-forestry crops such as avocados, olives and tomatoes, and were initially introduced to stimulate timber planting.

Shares in companies involved in the schemes rallied yesterday, but valuations remain below this year’s opening prices.

Timbercorp chief executive Robert Hance, who has watched his company’s share price plummet from above $3 to below $2, welcomed the announcement, saying the company would proceed with new projects.

Its shares closed 3.5c stronger at $1.99.

An executive director of Great Southern, Cameron Rhodes, claimed it was now “business as usual”. Great Southern shares, which started the year above $2.80, rose 3c to $2.03 yesterday.

The Tax Commissioner, Michael D’Ascenzo, who ultimately decides whether the Tax Office will allow deductions against the schemes, said yesterday it would search for a test case to go through court to confirm the decision not to grant any more schemes from July 1, 2008.
“Once we have a case, we will look to expedite it through the courts,” Mr DAscenzo said.

If the test case is finalised before June 30, 2008, the Tax Office will immediately cease issuing rulings approving new schemes.
But industry expects it will take at least until then to push a case through the courts.
Labor’s primary industries spokesman, Kerry O’Brien, said yesterday’s decision created more uncertainty for investors and the schemes’ employees

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