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Tuesday, 13 March 2012
Page: 2755


Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (19:12): On behalf of the opposition, it is my pleasure to rise and speak on the Indirect Tax Laws Amendment (Assessment) Bill 2012, which was introduced into the House just a couple of weeks ago on Wednesday 29 February by the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer and now Assistant Treasurer, the member for Lindsay. I say at the outset that the coalition will be supporting this bill. This is a piece of legislation that updates and improves the substantive indirect tax legislation in a number of respects. As the then parliamentary secretary outlined in his second reading speech, this flows from a Board of Taxation review of the legal framework for the administration of the goods and services tax in particular. That review was announced in June 2008 and reported just over a year later. It made 46 recommendations aimed at changing aspects of the tax in a number of respects.

There are four schedules. The first aims to harmonise self-assessment regimes across the GST, the luxury car tax, the wine equalisation tax and fuel tax credits. In summary, it creates a self-assessment system based on that in place for income tax assessments. As we know, that has been outlined in some detail by the former parliamentary secretary and in the explanatory memorandum. I will not go through all the detail of it and detain the chamber on that issue tonight. Schedule 2 simply allows taxpayers on a GST or a fuel return to take into account minor errors made in previous returns. Essentially, this places in legislation and codifies what is the common-sense and everyday practice of the commissioner, who has had power in this respect. It is a sensible reform. Schedule 3 codifies the current accepted practice that luxury car tax and wine equalisation tax are part of the net amount of GST under the Goods and Services Tax Act. Schedule 4, as is so often the case with bills similar to tax law amendment bills, makes a number of minor changes to the tax law and some corrections of anomalies and removal of redundant provisions.

This bill is part of the general evolution towards a self-assessment system and it makes common-sense changes. The coalition supports this bill. And can I say in conclusion that, as so often the case, I and the member for Blair have the happy duty of speaking on matters with which we agree. I notice that like an old television series he is here again, on a matter of technical tax administration. On behalf of the opposition, I commend to bill to the House.