Proposed cash payments limit legislation remains before Parliament

We previously wrote about the Government’s move to limit cash payments from 1 January 2020 to amounts of up to $10,000.

This has not yet been legislated. The relevant bill, the Currency (Restrictions on the Use of Cash) Bill 2019, has passed through the House, but remains before the Senate. A report from the Senate Economics Legislation Committee is due on 28 February 2020.

The proposed cash payments limit has proven controversial – some of the concerns submitted in response to the bill are:

    1. Cash is legal tender – a customer may choose to pay in cash to avoid transaction fees and charges that would apply if they paid by debit or credit card
    2. Remote and regional areas may not have reliable access to internet, electronic banking or phones, meaning cash can be a very necessary part of business
    3. In some scenarios it may disadvantage a business to not be able to accept cash payments
    4. The proposed limit is too high
    5. Whether imposing a cash payment limit will actually address the core problem of tax avoidance
    6. Whether the severity of the proposed penalties is appropriate.

Also, the initial timeframe was not sufficient to educate the community and businesses about the legislation, if it proceeded with a commencement date of 1 January 2020. As the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell wrote in her submission, “As criminal offences are involved, and people are likely to be unaware that a series of apparently separate transactions may be linked together as a ‘supply’, the Government owes a duty to the population to ensure a comprehensive media campaign is undertaken before implementation”.

At this stage no proposed amendments have been circulated, however obviously the date the commencement date at least would need to be updated.

We will update our clients if and when the bill is passed into law.

Thanks for reading.

By Genna Kidd

The information contained on this website has been provided as general advice only.  The contents have been prepared without taking account of your personal objectives, financial situation or needs.  You should, before you make any decision regarding any information, strategies or products mentioned on this website, consult your own financial advisor to consider whether that is appropriate having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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