Is the government getting cold feet on proposed changes to ASX dividend franking credits?

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones says Labor will "listen seriously" to the feedback after the public consultation period closed this week.

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Assistant Federal Treasurer Stephen Jones says the government will "have a look at" feedback about proposed legislation to stop companies paying franked special dividends funded via capital raisings.

According to reporting in The Australian, Jones told Sky News in an interview that the government will "listen seriously" to feedback after the public consultation period via Treasury closed on Wednesday.

One of the key criticisms has been the retrospective element, with the new rules requiring investors and super funds to pay back franking tax credits attached to special dividends received since December 2016.

As my Fool colleague Brendon reported, the government says the measure will save $10 million a year. 

But fund manager Geoff Wilson, chair of Wilson Asset Management, reckons it "could run into the billions".

Wilson has been a vocal opponent of the proposed laws. He has encouraged investors in his popular WAM funds to lodge their own objections to the draft law via Treasury.

In separate reporting, the Australian Shareholders' Association says the changes could "panic" already nervous investors, especially retirees relying on dividends to pay for the cost of living.

The Association lodged a submission with Treasury during the public consultation period.

The proposed changes will not impact ordinary dividends. ASX dividend shares will still be able to pay special dividends without franking.

The Federal Treasurer, Jim Chalmers, has previously described the legislation as "a very minor measure" that closes a loophole that companies use to pay out excess franking credits on their books.

The previous Coalition Government initially proposed the measure in 2016 but never went ahead with it.

The S&P/ASX All Ordinaries Index (ASX: XAO) is down 0.61% at the time of writing.

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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