Sign up for tax alert emails    GTNU homepage    Tax newsroom    Email document    Print document    Download document

March 17, 2021

Australia introduces measures to remove Offshore Banking Unit regime

On 17 March 2021, the Australian Government introduced a Bill into Parliament with measures to reform Australia’s Offshore Banking Unit (OBU) regime (Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No. 2) Bill 2021). The previously announced amendments are in response to concerns raised in 2018 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Forum for Harmful Tax Practices that Australia’s OBU regime has harmful preferential tax features.

The Bill proposes to:

  • Remove the effective 10% concessional tax treatment for OBUs in respect of offshore banking (OB) activities from the 2023-24 income year. From 2023-24 the taxable income of an OBU on its OB activities will be subject to the relevant corporate tax rate.
  • Remove the withholding tax exemption for OBUs for interest paid on or after 1 January 2024.

The Bill will also close the regime to any new entrants from the day after Royal Assent of the amending Act, however the Government has advised that any pending applications for OBUs will not be approved.

The Government has committed to consult with industry on alternative measures to support them and ensure activity remains in Australia once the two-year grandfathering period ends.

The ”Australia as a Financial and Technology Centre Advisory Group” (AFTCAG) report, commissioned by Senator Andrew Bragg and in which EY was an active participant, has recommended for example the establishment of an Incremental Business Activity Rate (IBAR) regime offering tax rebates for up to seven years to companies establishing a “Qualifying Business” in Australia, as a more targeted concessional tax regime for the financial services industry.”


For additional information with respect to this Alert, please contact the following:

Ernst & Young (Australia), Financial Services Tax, Sydney

Ernst & Young LLP (United States), Australian Tax Desk, New York

Ernst & Young LLP (United Kingdom), Australian Tax Desk, London


The information contained herein is general in nature and is not intended, and should not be construed, as legal, accounting or tax advice or opinion provided by Ernst & Young LLP to the reader. The reader also is cautioned that this material may not be applicable to, or suitable for, the reader's specific circumstances or needs, and may require consideration of non-tax and other tax factors if any action is to be contemplated. The reader should contact his or her Ernst & Young LLP or other tax professional prior to taking any action based upon this information. Ernst & Young LLP assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in tax laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.


Copyright © 2024, Ernst & Young LLP.


All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, retransmitted or otherwise redistributed in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including by photocopying, facsimile transmission, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from Ernst & Young LLP.


Any U.S. tax advice contained herein was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by the recipient for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or applicable state or local tax law provisions.


"EY" refers to the global organisation, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.


Privacy  |  Cookies  |  BCR  |  Legal  |  Global Code of Conduct Opt out of all email from EY Global Limited.


Cookie Settings

This site uses cookies to provide you with a personalized browsing experience and allows us to understand more about you. More information on the cookies we use can be found here. By clicking 'Yes, I accept' you agree and consent to our use of cookies. More information on what these cookies are and how we use them, including how you can manage them, is outlined in our Privacy Notice. Please note that your decision to decline the use of cookies is limited to this site only, and not in relation to other EY sites or Please refer to the privacy notice/policy on these sites for more information.

Yes, I accept         Find out more