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Thursday, 3 December 1936


Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- It is necessary that I should reply to the courteous answer given to me by the. Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce). I cannot understand how my suggestion could lead to difficulties such as the Income Tax Department has apparently imagined. The initiative would have to come from the aggrieved person. If a shareholder found that £10 had' been deducted from his preference dividends during the last four years, although his total income during that period was within the statutory exemption, he should be able to make application to the Commissioner for a refund. The Commissioner could then cause the claim to be investigated. The very fact that the applicant did not appear on the roll of income taxpayers would be evidence to support his claim for a refund. When the Commissioner satisfied himself that, the applicant had never been an income taxpayer, because his income was too small, he could authorize a refund. The applicant would be entitled to it, because the Commissioner was never entitled to the tax which he collected. The legislation which made it possible was passed without any thought of how it might apply to these unfortunate individuals. I do not suggest that anyone should be allowed to evade the tax if he is legally liable to pay it. It is hard to realize that, under an amendment of the Income Tax Assessment Act, it has been possible to drag into the net many people who were not income taxpayers at all, simply because it was convenient, although not mandatory, for the company to deduct the money from their dividends. The great majority of companies which issued preference shares did not deduct the property tax at its source; but a few companies have taken the opportunity offered to them to do so, and they have paid the money directly to the Commissioner of Taxation. If this were general practice I could understand that there might be a considerable number of applicants; but in view of the fact that this opportunity is availed of by only a comparatively few companies, the number of applicants must be small. If the Commissioner of Taxation is satisfied that this tax should not have been paid, he should refund it.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 19 agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.

Bill read a third time.







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