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New tax act takes shape

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The shape o f the income tax law o f the future begins to emerge today with the public release o f a package o f information and draft Bill from the Government's Tax Law Improvement Project.

The package was released with the approval o f the Assistant Treasurer, George Gear.

The project responds to often expressed concerns that the tax law is too complex, hard to read, and difficult to understand. By rewriting the law with improved layout and structure the project is tackling excessive compliance costs on the community.

Central to the package is the proposed framework for a new Income Tax Assessment Act to replace the present 60 year old one.

The draft Bill uses: • a clear, easy to follow structure; • plain, concise language; • many features to help readers navigate the Act:

- overview and purpose statements; - basic tax rules explained up front; - modem layout and design with extensive use o f graphics, flow charts and signposting;

- key principles highlighted; and - helpful examples and notes in the text.

All this should result in a much more readable law for all users, whether tax specialists or people with more limited experience o f the tax law.

A feature is the way in which central concepts of income and deductions are supported with an informative guide to help understanding. The project team is anxious to have feedback on this.

The package also includes rewrites o f two important areas: • the mles about deductions for losses; and • the capital write-off's for the mining industries.

The draft Bill builds on the successful rewriting of the substantiation rules for work expenses, which were recently enacted.

This package is being released because Mr Gear and the project team intend that there be the widest public consultation and opportunity for the community to contribute ideas and comments before the final product is introduced into Parliament later this year.

CANBERRA 4 May 1995

TAX LAW IMPROVEMENT PROJECT Contact Officer: Sandra Gill (06) 216 1428