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Statements made yesterday show opposition is again grandstanding on the subject of tax avoidance



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TREASURER

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STATEMENT BY THE TREASURER, THE HONOURABLE JOHN HOWARD, MP

NO. r e ­

statements by Mr Hayden and Mr Willis yesterday show that the Opposition

is again grandstanding on the subject of tax avoidance.

Yesterday, Mr Willis tried to make out that he had uncovered a new tax

avoidance scheme and that only a Labor Government could possibly counters

it. ' ' · ' ■ ' .

The scheme to which Mr Willis referred utilises so called "straw company"

arrangements. These involve stripping companies or trusts of their

available assets without making any provision for payment of tax.

It is completely incorrect to suggest that the Government is ignoring .

the existence of these arrangements. Indeed, the Commissioner of

Taxation refers to them in his latest annual report.

In fact, as soon as they were brought to the Government’s attention, the

Government began a close study of the most effective means of countering

them. When that study is completed in the near future action will then be taken against them.

Yesterday, Mr Hayden quite misleadingly attempted to argue that, the

Government has not done anything about tax avoidance.

He referred to avoidance amounting to $700 million. This was the

amount mentioned in the Taxation Commissioner's annual report as being

under challenge. .

This is, in fact, the amount the Commissioner of Taxation is seeking

to recover through various legal processes from individuals and companies

involved in tax avoidance schemes. ·

2.

The amount has not been lost; nor has the Government forgotten about it.

This serves to illustrate the unrealistic nature of the Opposition’s own

proposed action against tax avoidance.

Retrospective legislation will not lead to immediate recovery of this

money. .

There will still be those that contend either that they were not .involve'

in tax avoidance schemes or that, for some other reason, anti-avoidance

legislation does not affect them.

Unless they were prepared to cut off all rights of appeal, the Oppositioi

would still need to pursue these cases through the courts.

The Opposition is being completely naive in believing that this is a

problem which can be quickly or simply overcome. .

SYDNEY 13 October 1980