The Zone Tax Offset is a tax rebate for taxpayers who are located in remote areas of Australia. The amount of the rebate is a fixed amount, but is determined by geographical location.
At present, to be eligible for the Zone Tax Offset, a taxpayer must live or work in a specific remote area for more than 183 days in an income year – however this time does not need to spent consecutively. This has meant that FIFO workers have been able to claim the offset without having to live in the remote area on a full time basis.
Draft legislation has been released for public comment addressing the proposed change that the Zone Tax Offset only be made available to people whose “normal residence” is located in the zone or special area of a zone.
These changes would exclude FIFO workers (and the like) affecting approximately 20% of the more than 500,000 taxpayers who currently claim the rebate.
Some would argue that FIFO workers should be compensated for the time spent away from their families and the travel they must endure, others may argue that this form of compensation should be exclusively for those who have committed to permanently reside in the remote area.
What are your thoughts?
PS This change is expected to take effect for the 2015/16 financial year.