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Tuesday, 4 September 1984
Page: 433

(Question No. 900)

Senator Mason asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 29 May 1984:

(1) Is the Government aware of evidence arising in the courts in New South Wales which indicates a mechanism for evading sales tax on motor vehicles through using exemptions available to charities.

(2) Is any departmental investigation into this matter proceeding; if so, what stage have the investigations reached, and if not, when will an investigation be launched.

(3) Have any prosecutions been launched; if so, how many and what are the details, and if not, when are such prosecutions anticipated to be launched.

(4) How widespread is this evasion mechanism, and how many charity organisations might be involved, on information available to the Government so far.

(5) What order of loss to revenue does the Government estimate this evasion of sales tax has involved.

(6) Have taxation authorities made relevant records available to investigating officers of the New South Wales Police; if not, why not.

Senator Walsh —The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Government is aware of the matter. It involves an isolated case and is not indicative of any serious weakness in the system by which organisations entitled to exemption from sales tax on goods for their use and not for sale obtain that exemption. In the case of motor vehicles, the Taxation Office has in place procedure to safeguard the revenue which, except for claims made by Government Departments and authorities, requires that claims for exemption be scrutinized by that office prior to the motor vehicle being sold free of tax.

(2) Departmental investigation into the matter is proceeding with finalisation of it depending on the outcome of proceedings that are currently before the courts in New South Wales.

(3) No prosecutions have been launched. Whether any prosecutions will be launched will depend on the outcome of the departmental investigations.

(4) This matter is an isolated instance involving a single official of one organisation.

(5) Approximately $10,000.

(6) Yes. Full co-operation has been extended to the New South Wales police and copies of documents have been made available.