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Thursday, 13 February 2003
Page: 11911

Mr Murphy asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 13 February 2002:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to a report in The Age newspaper on 26 June 2001 titled “Tax experts declare: we are confused”.

(2) Has his attention been drawn to the comment in that report by the Tax Agents' Association President, Ray Regan that (a) this year's Taxpack is in the mail and its size and complexity has confused even the experts and (b) the Government's tax reforms had complicated the system so much that tax agents' fees would increase by 50 to 100 % this year.

(3) Has his attention also been drawn to a similar report in The Canberra Times on 26 June 2001 titled “Post-GST Taxpack too complicated: expert”.

(4) What action is he taking to make it easier for tax agents and taxpayers to better understand this year's Taxpack.

(5) What action is he taking to minimise the increased costs taxpayers are bearing following the introduction of the Government's recent tax reforms.

Mr Costello (Treasurer) —The Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) to (5) The size of the TaxPack has actually fallen, from 144 to 128 pages. The TaxPack for retirees and the TaxPack Supplement are the same size as last year. For most people, it is only necessary to fill out questions such as those relating to salary and wages, interest, work related deductions, gifts or donations and the private health insurance rebate and spouse rebate (where appropriate).

Every year the Australian Taxation Office evaluates TaxPack, market researches new changes, and undertakes testing through the `TaxPack advisory panel' and external stakeholders such as other government agencies and key community groups. This practice of consultation was continued for TaxPack 2001.