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Friday, 23 October 1931

Mr THEODORE - On the 14th October, the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green) asked me a question without notice in regard to the steps taken by the Government to collect income tax from oil companies.

This question has been the subject of several investigations during the past decade, and both legislative and administrative action has been taken to see that income tax is paid on the taxable income which might reasonably be expected to arise from the Australian business of these companies. In this connexion, I- may say that the Income Tax Board of Review is about to enter into an appeal by one of the oil companies against the departmental assessment under section 28 of the Income Tax Assessment Act. This inquiry must, however, be made in camera, unless the taxpayer concerned desires that it should be open to the public. The allegation by the honorable member that in one instance the evasion of income tax last year amounted to £2,000,000, will not bear analysis. This would appear to be an alleged evasion by a company. The company rate of tax for last year was ls. 4d. in the £1 of taxable income, so that the amount of the alleged evaded tax represents a taxable income of £30,000,000 in that one case. As the gross sales of any one company in Australia do not nearly approach £30,000,000, it is obvious that the statement has no foundation in fact.

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