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Monday, 2 June 2003
Page: 15694

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

(1) Has his attention been drawn to reports of barristers avoiding large tax debts by declaring themselves bankrupt.

(2) Is the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) able to garnishee notices under S.128 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 to payments made to barristers by their clients in order to repay tax debts; if so, has the ATO been issuing these notices; if not, why not.

Mr Costello (Treasurer) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) and (2) Yes. The ATO uses garnishee notices at all stages of the legal recovery process and manages this on a case by case basis. The ATO has also prosecuted barristers for failure to provide information about third parties such as solicitors holding money on their behalf.