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Thursday, 27 November 1986
Page: 3935

Mr KEATING (Treasurer) —I seek your indulgence, Madam Speaker, to make a short statement.

Madam SPEAKER —Please proceed.

Mr KEATING —Earlier this evening I received a letter from the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Carlton) asking me to comment on a letter from the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation in Sydney that had come into his possession. This letter from the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation, dated 3 November, was to advise me that my income tax return for 1985 was overdue and that I should now lodge a return for 1986 as well. I never received the letter from the Deputy Commissioner, which was obviously stolen from the mail. The first knowledge I had of its existence was on Tuesday morning of this week when I received a telephone call from the Commissioner of Taxation telling me that he had had an inquiry regarding the letter. I took the opportunity to tell the Commissioner that I had prepared my return for 1985 and that I was in a position to lodge it that day, which I did.

The letter also refers to a conversation I had earlier had with the Deputy Commissioner. I had rung him to say that I was aware that my 1985 return was outstanding and that after the Budget processes had been completed I would attend to it. I am a PAYE taxpayer and my PAYE deductions are such that I expect to receive a refund on my 1985 return. As a consequence any cost involved in the delay in lodging the return is borne by me and not by the Commonwealth. This is not to say that I should not have lodged the return earlier; obviously I should have and I regret not having done so. I fill in my own tax returns and unfortunately, through oversight, I failed to lodge it on time. I am in the process of finalising my 1986 return, which I will lodge shortly. I might add that in this matter I have been treated no differently from any other taxpayer, but I appreciate the manner in which the honourable member for Mackellar chose to raise the matter with me.

House adjourned at 10.13 p.m.