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Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Page: 13562


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongAssistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation) (11:21): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill delivers on the government's commitment to reduce business compliance costs for excise liable businesses.

These taxpayers, operating under the existing standard seven-day excise settlement period, beginning Monday and ending Sunday, will become eligible to apply for a new weekly period, to begin on their preferred day.

The codification of the seven-day period will provide certainty to businesses. Furthermore, the flexibility to choose the particular seven-day cycle that best suits the business's commercial practice will reduce their administration costs.

Most importantly, small businesses will be able to apply for permission to defer their excise settlement to a monthly reporting cycle, with a further 21 days from the end of the month to remit their tax liability. This will considerably reduce the administration and cash management burden on small businesses.

For example, a small business would previously have paid excise to the ATO every seven days although their typical business terms may be for a 30-day settlement. This bill gives small businesses at least 21 days, and up to 51 days, to remit their tax liability—which will significantly help with their cash management.

Furthermore, small businesses will be required to lodge only 12 returns per year, as opposed to 52 returns per year under the current arrangements.

Under this bill, business entities with no duty liabilities may have the terms of their seven-day or monthly permission amended to a longer reporting cycle at the discretion of the tax commissioner.

If a business's permission relates to gaseous fuel on a seven-day permission, this bill will allow that business to give the commissioner a return, on or before the sixth business day following the end of each seven-day period. This bill also ensures that the existing monthly settlement arrangement for stabilised crude oil and condensate will remain unchanged.

These arrangements reflect the particular commercial circumstances of the gaseous fuel, stabilised crude oil and condensate industries.

Full details of the amendments in this bill are contained in the combined explanatory memorandum.

Debate adjourned.