The Bill extending the director penalty notice regime to GST amounts has received Royal Assent and is now law.

This legislation allows the Commissioner to make and collect estimates of anticipated GST liabilities and make company directors personally liable for a company’s GST, luxury car tax (LCT) and wine equalisation tax (WET) liabilities in certain circumstances.

This means that the director penalty regime will now cover:

  • unpaid PAYG withholding amounts,
  • superannuation guarantee amounts
  • GST, LCT and WET liabilities

These changes increase the level of personal risk associated with being a director of a company.

Further, the Corporations Act 2001 has also been amended to introduce new criminal offences and civil penalty provisions for company officers who fail to prevent a company from making creditor-defeating disposals of property, as well as allowing liquidators to apply for a court order in relation to these disposals.

The amendments also prevent directors from improperly backdating resignations or ceasing to be a director when this would leave a company with no directors.

If you are a Director of a company, it is important that you are aware of these changes and the need to ensure that companies are up to date with reporting indirect tax amounts to the ATO.

For those considering taking on a role as director of a company it is important to undertake a due diligence process prior to being appointed as director to ensure that the company is up to date with its tax and other obligations as newly appointed directors can become personally liable for historical outstanding amounts.