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Thursday, 21 May 1936

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - I have not made any criticism of the arrangements made by the department to collect the tax, nor do I suggest that any company is at fault in this matter. My contention is that the law provides that poor people shall "not be taxed. The statutory exemption has been fixed as high as £250 a year, and the law says that any person whose income is less than that shall pay no income tax at all. Yet cases arise in which persons whose total income is much less than £250 a year are compelled to pay this heavy special tax. I claim that the principle of the income tax should be recognized in every clause of this bill. But this is not done, because a person who has no income other than that received by way of dividends on preference shares is forced to meet this particularly heavy impost.

Senator Collings - But, as shareholders in companies, they have a responsibility to the taxpayers of this country.

Senator PAYNE - That is not the point. It is interesting to see the honorable senator supporting the big man, and showing no sympathy with the underdog. What administrative difficulty would arise if I wrote to the Commissioner of Taxation, and said that I was receiving £50 a' year in dividends on preference shares, and had no other income whatever? I would merely ask for a. refund of the amount paid as special property tax ? It would be only necessary for the Commissioner 'tfr maKe an investigation to verify my statement; and the refund could be made.

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