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Thursday, 27 November 1941

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - Generally, I find little to complain of in this bill. I realize that it is necessary to raise more revenue, hut I agree with Senator Spicer in his criticism of the bill. I understand that an undertaking has been given that the matter mentioned by the honorable senator will be referred to a committee on taxation and that an appropriate amendment will be introduced at a later stage.The framers of this bill appear not to understand the difference between a transfer of property and its registration. The two transactions are entirely different, and are the responsibility of separate persons. When a person disposes of a block of land to another, by sale or otherwise, and signs the transfer his responsibility ceases; thereafter the person to whom the land has been transferred must accept full responsibility for having the transfer registered. Such registration may involve the payment of stamp duty, but the donee may not be in a position to pay the stamp duty at the time, and, in consequence, the registration may not take effect immediately. I have had a good deal of experience in connexion with the transfer of properties, and I know that, in many instances, registration does not take place for a considerable time after everything else in connexion with the transfer has been concluded. The transaction becomes definite as soon as the transfer is signed. From that time the purchaser, or the donee, is liable for all rates, taxes, and other charges on the property. He is virtually the owner of the property, irrespective of whether it is registered at once or not until some months later. I imagine that there will be cases in which the registration of properties which have been transferred for some time will not be completed before the 29th October. The committee on taxation matters reported as follows : -

The committee considered the question as to whether marriage settlements should be exempt from gift duty. It was decided that there was no justification for such an exemption.

A man may make a settlement on the woman whom he expects to marry, and sign a transfer of property to her,but the lady may decide not to marry him. In such an event, the man can do nothing, although the transfer has not been registered. This is a matter which should he referred to the committee which is to inquire into certain tax imposts, and I understand that that will be done. When it comes before the committee, I hope that a proper decision will be (arrived at.

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