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Friday, 28 November 1986
Page: 3967

Mr CARLTON —I refer the Treasurer to his statement of 11 September 1984, in which he said:

Among the most common tax offences are failure to furnish information to the Tax Commissioner and failure to file a return.

Does the Treasurer's failure to file his 1985 tax return until November 1986 and his failure to lodge a 1986 return so far constitute offences under the tax legislation?

Mr KEATING —Ruling No. IT2372 of the Australian Taxation Office says--

Mr Halverson —Have you been doing a bit of homework, Paul?

Mr KEATING —No, it is all freely available stuff and I suggest that a lot more of those opposite have a look at it. The ruling states:

Additional tax for late lodgment generally is not calculated where the assessment results in a credit or refund, or the taxpayer is non-taxable.

Another ruling says:

Where despite the issue of a final notice a person has not furnished a return, prosecution is generally the most appropriate means of obtaining lodgment.

I received no final notice. Another passage states:

It is essential that appropriate priorities be set for the selection . . . where it seems clear that a person has no residual tax liability . . .

A further ruling states:

Despite the power of the Commissioner to prosecute, without warning for failure to lodge returns, it is the general practice of the Taxation Office to issue a further notice, or final notice, under Section 162, demanding lodgment of a return within a specified time. Prosecution for failing to comply with the terms of Section 161 (by notice in the Commonwealth Gazette) is instituted only in situations where it is considered that immediate action is necessary to avert a threat to the revenue.

They are the three rulings, and I have never received a final notice. It is clear that without a final notice, under the operation--

Mr Howard —Does this go to your principal place of residence?

Mr KEATING —Does the honourable member want me to answer the question?

Mr Howard —You are not giving a very satisfactory one.

Mr KEATING —This is the first time I have heard from the Leader of the Opposition in two days. He did not even ask a question yesterday. Not having received a final notice, the likelihood of any penalty or offence is not likely to be broached.