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Wednesday, 29 April 1987
Page: 2032

(Question No. 278)


Senator Black asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 9 May 1985:

(1) Is the Treasurer aware that the Australian Bureau of Statistics survey of trade union membership in May 1982 found that 2,567,600 Australians are members of one or more unions.

(2) Is the Treasurer aware that comparable taxation statistics (for 1981-82) show that 2,785,690 Australians claimed a tax deduction for union fees and subscriptions to professional organisations.

(3) Would the Treasurer agree that the discrepancy between the figures referred to in (1) and (2) above, could point to a wide-spread practice among non-union members of claiming union fees as a tax deduction and that this form of tax evasion might cost the Australian taxpayer over $20 million per year.

(4) What steps can the Government take to stamp out the form of tax evasion referred to in (3) above, or alternatively, what steps can be taken to ensure that persons claiming union fees as a tax deduction actually pay union fees.


Senator Walsh —The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes.

(2) Yes.

(3) The Treasurer does not agree that the discrepancy between the figures referred to in question (1) and (2) could point to a wide-spread practice among non-union members of claiming union fees as a tax deduction. The Treasurer understands that the Australian Bureau of Statistics survey excludes Australians who are members of professional organisations, but who are included in the total of persons claiming subscriptions for income tax purposes.

(4) Neither the Treasurer nor the Commissioner of Taxation is aware of the alleged wide-spread practice among non-union members claiming union fees as deductions.