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Thursday, 29 May 2003
Page: 15555

Mr Murphy asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 12 February 2003:

(1) Further to the reply to question No. 43, what is the process by which Australian Taxation Office (ATO) industry codes, also known as Business Industry Codes, within the ATO 2002 Business Industry Codes (Ref. NAT 1827-6.2002) are created and allocated.

(2) Who within the ATO has responsibility for the creation of these codes and allocation to specific business activities.

(3) What are the Business Industry Codes for the business activities of (a) advocate, (b) barrister, (c) conveyancing service-by qualified legal practitioners, (d) legal aid service and (e) notary and (f) solicitor.

(4) Does he have data available through the ATO that can specify the percentage of (a) barristers and (b) solicitors who pay the top marginal rate of income tax; if so, what are those respective percentages; if not, why not.

(5) What are the reasons why the 78410 business industry code aggregates widely divergent occupations such as those listed in part (3), in such macro and widely divergent business activities.

(6) Is he able to distinguish data from taxation returns received by the ATO from those business activities prescribed in code 78410; if so, will he provide further particulars going to the substance of the original question No. 43.

(7) If he is unable to so distinguish such figures, why has the ATO chosen to create business industry code 78410 which inextricably mixes these six widely divergent business activities into one amorphous code.

(8) Will he direct the ATO to recommend creating unique business industry codes for each of the six business activities prescribed under code 78410; if so, when; if not, why not.

(9) What means does a member of the public have in obtaining the information sought in question No. 43.

(10) Does the ATO furnish information to the Australian Bureau of Statistics that enables that Bureau to distinguish the percentage of barristers and solicitors who pay the top marginal rate of income tax; if not, why not.

Mr Costello (Treasurer) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The ATO industry coding regime is based upon the four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC) system which is maintained by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). However, the ATO adds a fifth digit of ATO ANZSIC for internal purposes and these are created when a business requirement is identified. When a business requirement is identified, a business case is compiled and considered by the ATO's Tax Time Change Committee (TTCC).

(2) The business requirement for adding an additional industry code by using a fifth digit is identified by the relevant ATO business line and considered by the TTCC. In deciding on the merits of the business case, the cost of compliance impacts for taxpayers and ATO administrative costs form a major part of those considerations. For example, if the information is already available from an external source the business case would not be approved.

(3) All of the activities listed are included in industry code 78410.

(4) Refer to the response to QON 43.

(5) The nature of the activities included in 78410 are the same as those in the equivalent ABS ANZSIC classification.

(6) Refer to the response to QON 43.

(7) Refer to the answer to question 5.

(8) Refer to the answer to question 2.

(9) The answer to QON 43 is in Hansard. Hansard is publicly available on the Parliament House website.

(10) No. As the response to question 3 shows, the information collected by the ATO cannot differentiate the business activities of taxpayers coded to industry code 78410.