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Monday, 24 November 1997
Page: 9301


Senator COOK(8.14 p.m.) —The opposition is attracted to this amendment although we do have some questions about it and our attraction is qualified to the extent that those questions are answered. This amendment says that overpayments of advance instalments should be refunded within 28 days of reassessment by the tax office.

We are not sure whether the Democrat amendment is entirely workable. Perhaps, through you, Mr Temporary Chairman, Senator Allison might wish to comment on this proposition: isn't it the case that the Australian Tax Office will not know that an advance instalment was too much when collected until the following year? That is my first question. The second question relates to the taxpayers' charter. Isn't it also the case that the taxpayers' charter requires the Australian Tax Office to be prompt in repayment anyway? Those are the considerations on my side in determining whether we actually support Senator Allison. I might say we do need to hear a little bit more about it but we are not at all opposed to this amendment.