SARMS: Tax answers

There is clear evidence that the South Australian River Murray Sustainability Irrigation Industry Improvement Program, more commonly known as SARMS 3IP, announced in 2013 as an outcome of the Murray Darling Basin Plan is already imposing an economic impact on the Riverland.
There is evidence of projects and new developments in every sub-region; with the most popular new plantings seeming to be almond trees. Anyone who has driven past the former Loxton Research Centre in recent weeks would have seen the work being undertaken there as the old buildings are transformed and adjacent areas cleared for the new buildings. The RAMPP Business Centre, a Riverland wine initiative, will form an important part of that re-development. SARMS is certainly providing a very substantial confidence booster to the Riverland.

However, understanding the taxation implications for SARMS grantees and business advisors has been an ongoing challenge. Over recent months the issue has been raised at a number of meetings between the Community and Industry Engagement Reference Group (CIERG) and PIRSA. Tax seems most often to be complex. Hence it was welcome news this week to learn that the ATO has issued a comprehensive set of explanatory notes in a question and answer form.

If you have received grant funds or if you are in the process of negotiating a deed for future funding under the SARMS program it’s well worth reading through these notes to gain a better understanding of tax obligations and opportunities. Caution though, it will still be important to take advice from a tax professional. 

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CIE RG members were appointed almost 12 months ago to represent various stakeholder groups and to work with PIRSA to monitor progress and identify issues arising as the SARMS program is rolled out. The group meets regularly at Swan Reach. Grape growers with issues relating to the program should contact Chris Byrne on 0419 555 001.

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