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Monday, 29 August 1994
Page: 534
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Senator Cook —On 20 June 1994 (Hansard page 1697) Senator Kernot asked Senator Schacht a question without notice concerning the basis for setting the provisional tax uplift factor. The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  The uplift factor is applied to the taxpayer's taxable income in the previous year, to determine provisional tax assessments for the current year. The uplift factor should on average, over time and across categories of taxpayers, represent a reasonable reflection of the growth in incomes of provisional taxpayers.

  Provisional tax liabilities are paid quarterly or in a lump sum in the last quarter of the year, whereas PAYE taxpayers pay tax as income is earned through the year. If the uplift factor is set too low, it will provide a tax deferral advantage for provisional taxpayers compared to PAYE taxpayers.

Taxpayers can apply for a provisional tax variation if they consider that provisional tax calculated using the uplift factor is too high.

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Senator Cook —On 4 May 1994 (Hansard page 197) Senator Woodley asked me a question without notice concerning the present Industry Commission inquiry into Charitable Organisations, and I undertook to obtain an answer on whether the Treasurer would consider allocating funds to reimburse charities for the costs of providing submissions to the inquiry.

  The Treasurer has provided the following information in answer to the honourable senator's question:

  Under a longstanding policy, Governments have not reimbursed the costs of participants in preparing submissions to the Industry Commission. I recognise the demands placed upon charitable organisations participating in the inquiry. However it is in their interest to assist the Commission so that it is fully apprised of all relevant issues and, hopefully, the inquiry will assist their longer-term performance.

  The Commission's main procedure of gathering information by documentary submissions has been the most constructive in terms of producing quality reports. Subsequent oral discussion of submissions at the Commission's hearings is an integral part of this process. In addition, participants can give oral evidence only at hearings if that is their wish.

  In the case of the inquiry into Charitable Organisations, the Commission is particularly mindful of the costs involved for participants, and has varied its usual inquiry mechanisms to minimise these costs. For example, it has met with representatives of groups of charities, who have sat and talked the issues through with the Commission, rather than put those groups to the effort of preparing overarching submissions. It has also taken every opportunity to seek oral evidence from participants and has scheduled public hearings at a wide number of venues.

  It is also relevant that the Government has a Community Organisations' Support Program (COSP) administered by the Department of Human Services and Health. COSP provides funding to peak charitable organisations, including the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), as a

contribution towards their secretariat/liaison costs, particularly in respect of consultation with Government departments and agencies.

  Under COSP, peak community organisations are also eligible to apply for one-off grants to undertake special projects. Under this provision ACOSS was provided with funding of $29,650 to co-ordinate a community sector response to the Industry Commission's draft report on Charitable Organisations. This project will include input across ACOSS members, as well as from other community-based organisations funded by COSP for national secretariat activities.

  Finally, the Commission has advised that the response to this inquiry has been very heartening, with over 400 submissions received so far from charitable organisations, and that ACOSS is cooperating fully with it.

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