The federal government’s proposed changes to the fringe benefits tax might pass through the senate before the election, if Kevin Rudd has his way.
Mr Rudd has been in contact with numerous world leaders in regards to the G20 summit and is rumoured to be making preparations to attend the event before an election is called. This would likely delay the federal election until October.
The net result of this means there will be another sitting of parliament before the election, giving the Rudd government the opportunity to pass the amendment to the fringe benefits tax regardless of the election outcome.
Industry sources have told CarAdvice that the Greens and independents will all vote in favour of the amendments, allowing Labor to make the changes pre-election.
Although the Coalition has already stated that it does not support the changes, it’s unlikely to scrap the amendments if they get through the senate prior to its potential victory at the election.
A source inside a large novated leasing company informed CarAdvice that over 10,000 leasing orders have been cancelled since the proposed changes to the tax were announced.
The situation is likely to lead to lower than average new car sales figures for July and August with figures for September and future months still too early to predict.
Consequently, it will also cause considerable headache for manufacturers that have pre-ordered vehicles for months in advance, potentially leading to big discounts to move new cars.
Car companies are expected to make a united stand against the changes once the lower than average figures for July are released in early August. CarAdvice believes that new car sales figures in July will not only be affected by the cancelled novated leases and weakening confidence but also potentially by manufacturers not pre-registering cars to further bring sales figure even lower.
The changes to the tax will not only affect individuals that lease their vehicles, but also companies that offer a work car as part of a salary package. The Rudd government estimates that this will help the budget by $1.8 billion.
The impact is perhaps hardest felt on Australia’s biggest salary packaging company, McMillan Shakespeare, which went into a trading halt last week following the proposed changes to the tax. However, following today’s decision by the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) to deny the company’s request to remain in trading halt until the election, shares in McMillan Shakespeare fell by more than 50 per cent.