Draft Data Standard for Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets
The Foreign Investment Committee of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia (the Committee) provided a submission to the Australian Taxation Office in relation to the draft Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers (Register Notices) Data Standard 2023.
The Committee supports the Commissioner of Taxation’s proposal1 to articulate data standard requirements in connection with the establishment of the Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets (Register) under Part 7A of the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) (FATA). Having a clear set of requirements will assist in the Australian Taxation Office’s administration of the Register and relevant foreign persons in complying with their notification requirements.
However, the Committee has two overarching concerns with the Draft Data Standard:
(a) in some cases information requirements are too imprecise; and
(b) section 130ZZ of the FATA (and section 13 of the Commonwealth Registers Act 2020 (Cth)) only authorises determination of data standards “by legislative instrument”—to the extent that the Draft Data Standard proposes to grant a discretion to the Registrar to request information or documents not described in the Draft Data Standard, the Registrar’s exercise of that discretion would occur other than by legislative instrument and, therefore, be beyond the scope of the Registrar’s delegated powers.
These concerns and other submissions are reflected in the comments set out below. Section references are to those in the Draft Data Standard.