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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 52

(Question No. 3676)


Mr Ruddock asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 8 April 1986:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to an article written by Max Walsh in the Age of 17 March 1986 stating that (a) the interesting thing about sections 50 and 50B of the Income Tax Assessment Act is that, combined with section 6 and particularly sub-section 6 (4), the Commissioner of Taxation would appear to have a case to reclaim a lot of tax that has been avoided in both preference share issues and takeover deals and (b) what all this boils down to is that this would seem to be another instance when there has been a loss of major proportions in revenue that could have been avoided with aggressive administration of the existing tax legislation.

(2) Has the Commissioner of Taxation a case to reclaim tax as suggested in the article; if so, what action has been taken to reclaim the money.

(3) Is it a fact that there have been losses of major proportions which could have been avoided with appropriately aggressive administration of the existing law.


Mr Keating —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) My attention has been drawn to the article.

(2) The Commissioner of Taxation has advised me there is no case to reclaim tax in the circumstances suggested in the article.

(3) No. This is not a question of aggressive administration of the law. The Commissioner's statutory duty is to administer the tax laws enacted by the Parliament having regard to the way they have been interpreted by the courts and other appellate tribunals. I am informed that his administration of the provisions of the income tax law referred to in the article is consistent with the interpretation placed upon them by the courts. I would also draw the honourable Member's attention to a decision of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory in Bond Corporation Holdings Ltd v. Grace Bros. Holdings Ltd & Ors where the Commissioner's approach to the operation of sub-section 6 (4) of the Income Tax Assessment Act was referred to with approval. The decision is reported in the Australian Company Law Reports, Volume 8 at page 61.