HANSARD – QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE – VETERANS

In today’s (17 October 2017) House of Representatives Questions without Notice, Independent Senator Andrew Wilkie (TAS) asked the Prime Minister this question.

Mr WILKIE (Denison) (14:18):

“My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, the TPI Federation has written to you repeatedly, seeking a resolution to the dreadful situation where about 28,000 totally and permanently incapacitated veterans have seen their economic loss compensation fall to just 65 per cent of the minimum wage. Prime Minister, given the gravity of this issue, and the Parliamentary Budget Office’s validation of the independent analysis supporting the claim by the TPI Federation, will you now take personal responsibility and intervene to facilitate an immediate increase of $176 a week in the economic loss compensation payments to Australia’s TPI veterans?” 

Read the PM’s reply here Hansard Reference – page 24

VIDEO – #VETERANS CLAWBACK – MIL SUPER INVALIDITY TAX ISSUE

 

The background to this matter and subsequent developments can be followed here

Coalition Media Release – Taxation Treatment of Superannuation Income Streams

The Hon Dan Tehan Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
and
The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer Minister for Revenue & Financial Services

TAXATION TREATMENT OF SUPERANNUATION
INCOME STREAMS

It has been a longstanding feature of the Australian superannuation system that military personnel and military invalidity pensioners are subject to tax on their superannuation income streams. Under the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation system, payments made before preservation age are treated as income and taxed accordingly.

Before the 2016-17 Budget, some superannuants were using a loophole to reduce their tax obligations on their superannuation income streams by electing to treat their income as a series of lump sum payments. Elsewhere in the tax system similar attempts to reduce tax are not sanctioned and the enabling loopholes are closed.

The Government announced on 3 May 2016 as part of the 2016-17 Budget that this loophole would be closed from 1 July 2017. At this time not one military invalidity pensioner or military personnel was using this loophole.

Only after the Budget announcement was made, a small number of military invalidity pensioners decided to change their arrangements to utilise the loophole, and reduce their tax obligations, prior to its closure.

Since September 2016, around 390 out of 11,800 military invalidity pension recipients have elected to make use of the loophole.

None of the individuals who elected to access the loophole will be subject to any back payment of tax, however they will no longer be able to use the loophole from 1 July 2017.

This change only impacts the way benefits provided by the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation are treated, not benefits provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The Government provides more than $11 billion annually in pensions and services to veterans and their families. This year’s Budget provided a significant increase in funding of $350 million in support of veterans.

The Government is continuing to work with veterans and other interested parties in clarifying this issue.

The Government has offered a briefing to the Opposition on this matter and they have agreed to take up our offer.

The Government greatly values the service of all military personnel and acknowledges the dedication and sacrifices they and their families make every day in order to keep our nation safe.

Media enquiries:
Gerard McManus 0477 391 580 (O’Dwyer)
Amelia Gard 0428 262 894 (Tehan)

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

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#Veterans Clawback – ABC Radio interview of David Jamison (DFWA) by Steve Austin

This ABC Brisbane Radio 612 4QR’s Steve Austin interview of David Jamison (DFWA) today (Friday 7th July) continues on from yesterday’s program. Unexpectantly DVA Minister Dan Tehan calls in to explain the matter.

This is another must listen to radio broadcast

Steve Austin’s introduction start at 15:35minutes

David Jamison commences at 18:26 minutes to end  at 29:39 minutes:

Dan Tehan commences at 37:16 minutes and ends at 47:01 minutes:

ALP Media Release – Government must provide clarity to Veterans’ Community

 

Senator Katy Gallagher (Shadow Minister for Small Business and  Financial Services) 
and
The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP (Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs)

Labor is growing increasingly concerned of reports Government changes to superannuation legislation will adversely impact a number of veterans.

Labor has sought an urgent briefing from the Government on the Treasury Laws Amendment (Fair and Sustainable Superannuation) Regulations 2017 and its expected impact on veterans.

Whilst the Government advised during Senate estimates there were no military pensioners taking their pension as a lump sum at the time the change was announced, it is clear they have not taken into consideration how this change would impact those veterans’ who have since elected for this tax treatment and the financial circumstances which they now find themselves facing.

Labor has previously expressed its concerns over the lack of clear information made available and the consequences of the Government’s disallowable instrument for veterans and ex-service personnel.

It is clear this issue is causing distress in the veterans and ex-service community, with the government failing to address their concerns.

We do not want to see our veterans left worse off by the Turnbull Government.

It is incumbent on the Government to address these issues and provide clarity and transparency on this issue.

The Government must engage in proper consultation with the veterans and ex-service community to work through these unintended consequences.

THURSDAY, 06 JULY 2017

#VETERANS CLAWBACK – ABC RADIO INTERVIEW OF COL RAY MARTIN (RET’D) BY STEVE AUSTIN

This ABC Brisbane Radio 612 4QR’s Steve Austin interview of Col Ray Martin (Retd) (past CO 1 RAR) today highlighted the issue. This is a must listen to radio broadcast

Following the interview five callers affected by the Tax legislation explain the facts of the matter and the impact on their lives.

Steve Austin Introduction: Start to 01.25 minutes

Ray Martin interview : From 03.24 to 23.44 minutes

Callers:
1. Shane: From 35.13 to 43.09 minutes
2. Tara : From 43.12 to 47.21 minutes
3. Stuart: From 47.23 to 54.03 minutes
4. Ian: From 54.04 to 56.51 minutes
5. Jason: From 57.45 to 64.40 minutes

A further discusion on the subject, with possible responses from the Government, is expected on the same program tomorrow (Friday) from 8.30 am 

 

Recent News Items Concerning Tax Treatment of Veteran Invalidity Benefit Payments – Does It Affect YOU?

Recent News Items Concerning Tax Treatment of Veteran Invalidity Benefit Payments – Does It Affect YOU?

1. The Tax changes do not affect any DVA Pension (incl TPI) in any way.

2. The Tax changes only affect those who:
• receive DFRDB or MSBS Class A or Class B Invalidity Benefits, AND
• applied for a Private Ruling from the Australian Taxation Office in the last year.

3. Only about 392 Veterans have had these Private Rulings. ComSuper should have advised them of the Tax change by now.

4. Private Rulings required a bit of complex dealings with the ATO involving your:
• providing 2 x doctors’ certificates to the ATO; and
• making a formal election to have your Invalidity Benefit payments treated as lump sum payments.

5. You would remember if you had to go through this. If you do not know about Private Rulings, then, this tax change does not affect you.

IF YOU RECEIVE DFRDB or MSBS CLASS A or B DISABILITY BENEFITS.

6. We recommend you monitor the ADSO or DFWA websites for up to date information on developments in this area of taxation of Class A and B DFRDB or MSBS Invalidity Benefits.

7. You can also get up to date information and post questions on-line by joining Facebook Groups which specialise in this area. These Groups are:
• COMSUPER-MILITARY ENTITLEMENTS, andhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/1098180903529690/
• ADF Invalidity Payments-Taxation Treatment.https://www.facebook.com/groups/1709523469074142/

8. Some members of these groups are actively challenging ComSuper at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Federal Court over the way ComSuper has been reporting your Invalidity Benefit payments to the ATO. ADSO is strongly supporting the actions of these groups.

9. If Court Action is successful, it is likely that many of those receiving DFRDB or MSBS Invalidity Benefits, will pay much less tax. So it pays to:
• Monitor the situation, and
• Support the Groups and ADSO organisations fighting for you.

#Veterans Clawback – Military Superannuation Invalidity Tax Issue

#VETERANS  CLAWBACK

The background to this issue was reported here “Government Targets Comsuper Invalidity Benefits for some Veterans from 1 July this year”, and here at COMSUPER – MILITARY ENTITLEMENTS

WIN TV News Townsville reported the issue last Thursday (29th June) as ‘  VETERANS VALUE: Concerning news for several hundred war veterans, tonight. Changes to legislation governing superannuation payments, could mean a big hit to invalid pension payments.’ Watch it here

Channel 7 TV News last night (2nd July) reported that Veterans take on the Turnbull Government over changes to the way it taxes Comsuper Invalidity payments.

David Jamison, national spokesman for the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations (ADSO), stated that ‘Although it appears this change for veterans is an unintended consequence of a much broader taxation change, the veterans community as a whole considered it (if true) manifestly unfair. We all have the obligation to support our effected invalided veterans. We have asked the Government to ensure they will not be hit with higher taxes post 1 July 2017’. 

ADSO is consulting with the DVA Minister Dan Tehan on the issue.

GOVERNMENT TARGETS COMSUPER INVALIDITY BENEFITS FOR SOME VETERANS FROM 1 JULY THIS YEAR

On 1 July some veterans on DFRDB/MSBS Invalidity Pensions who upon application, have had their taxation adjusted to the correct lower rate, i.e. the rate that applies to civilians with similar invalidity payments. This adjustment followed work from a number of successful private rulings from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Apparently, following representations from ComSuper  and as part of the sustainable superannuation push, the Government introduced changes to the law which removed the avenue that allowed injured Veterans to have their Invalidity payments taxed correctly from 1 July 2017. The Government calls it a “loophole”, however this legislation has been available for many years.

Those veterans currently affected have already been notified by Comsuper of the changes to their tax as of 1 July.  For most, it means a loss of several hundred dollars a fortnight, for some over a thousand dollars a fortnight.

NOTE: THIS ISSUE IS NOT RELATED TO THE TAX FREE STATUS OF DVA PENSIONS: THEY ARE NOT AFFECTED BY THESE CHANGES TO THE LAW.

DFWA (and ADSO) are consulting with others in the ESO and Defence Community and are seeking legal advice. They will be making direct representations to the Government and Parliament .  We strongly support a petition (petition EN0242) concerning this matter and encourage you to sign it NOW.

READ MORE

 

Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal : Update Unit Citation for Gallantry – Battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral

This Update is provided by The Hon Jane Prentice to our RAR Corporation’s Director Trevor Dixon’s  letter of request for support.

“I write to you concerning the recent announcement by the Hon. Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Defence Personnel, about the current inquiry into military honours. As an advocate for Veterans, past, present and future, I consider the recognition of their sacrifice as paramount to the freedoms we are afforded in Australia.

Recently it has been highlighted to me that Veterans of the Battles of Fire Support Bases Coral and Balmoral have been campaigning for a Unit Citation for Gallantry which is yet to be bestowed upon them. In my efforts to date I have raised this issue with the Prime Minister and the Minister for Defence Personnel to ensure this advocacy at the very top echelons.

I am pleased that Minister Tehan has called on the independent Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal to conduct an inquiry into the deserved decoration for those involved in the Battles of Coral and Balmoral, and for those who had served as part of the Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam (the RANHFV).

This independent tribunal is taking submissions from the public and will give careful consideration to both matters.

Further information regarding both inquiries is available by visiting https://defence-honours-tribunal.gov.au/

I encourage all former members and interested parties to take advantage of this opportunity and lodge a submission. Submissions are open until Friday, 16 June 2017, and can be lodged via email to [email protected] or by mail to The Executive Officer, Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal, Locked Bag 7765, CANBERRA BC ACT 2610.

When I receive any advice or information concerning this matter I will advise you further.”

 

HON. JANE PRENTICE MP | Federal Member for Ryan | Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services
636 Moggill Road, Chapel Hill, QLD, 4069 | P O Box 704, Indooroopilly, QLD  4068.
Telephone: (07) 3378 1599|Facsimile: (07) 3378 1399 |