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Tuesday, 29 September 1942

Mr CHIFLEY (Macquarie) (Treasurer) . - I am often inclined to think that the big proportion of gifts for the maintenance of public institutions are made by persons who do not claim an allowance in respect of them in their income tax returns. As a matter of fact the majority of our public institutions are maintained by the great mass of the people who purchase tickets, buttons and a hundred and one other things. Many honorable members repeatedly make donations, but I should be greatly surprised if they claimed a deduction on that account in their income tax returns. Those who make such claims are fairly wealthy, and are substantial donors. I do not suppose that one would be justified in saying that their motive is entirely altruistic; in many instances, an advertisement is obtained from the donation. The explanation of the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Spooner) makes perfectly clear the substantial reduction of tax that they now get. What is happening is that the Commonwealth, not the man who gets all the publicity, is making the greatest contribution. There was the extraordinary case of a donation of £500 having been made for a certain purpose. The wealthy individual who made it received the benefit of an allowance in connexion with the income tax payable by him. He would have paid at the rate of 17s. in the £1. The Commonwealth Treasury having in reality contributed most of the gift, I, as Treasurer, was asked to remit the excise payable in respect of certain goods that were to be bought with the gift. I found that the final cost to the Treasury would be approximately £647. That is -the sort of thing that can happen. Needless to say, I did not regard the proposition with very great favour. I am grateful to the honorable member for Robertson for his clear exposition. Apart from his technical knowledge, he is a member ofthe Special Taxation Committee, and no one is more qualified than he to state the position. It is true that a large number of persons believe that they are not to receive any concession in respect of gifts that they make. They will be given a rebate at the personal exertion rate appropriate to the taxable income. That is a very fair concession, in view of the fact that a substantial proportion of every gift is contributed by the Treasury, which does not get any of the advertising that is associated with it. Many persons who contribute guineas and half-guineas do not get either a deduction or very much publicity.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 31-

(4)   The amendments effected by section nineteen of this act shall apply to all assessments for the financial year beginning on the first dayof July, One thousand nine hundred and forty-three and all subsequent years.

Amendment (by Mr. Chifley) proposed -

That the words " section nineteen " be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - " sections twelve a, seventeen a, and nineteen ".

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