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Wednesday, 23 November 1938

Mr CASEY (Corio) (Treasurer) . - I should be surprised if individuals or companies were able to " get away" with the practice which the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark) alleges that they follow. Non-disclosure of profits and non-return of profits attract substantial penalties. The Commissioner of Taxation, with his staff throughout Australia, is almost a complete, if not complete, safeguard against that sort of thing. It can be taken, I think, that no reputable company, if it is put at its lowest level, would be likely to risk the penalties involved. If the honorable member has any suspicion that any particular company is following the course which he suggests, I should be glad to have information so that it may be thoroughly investigated.

Mr Ward - That is an old " squareoff."

Mr CASEY - It is true. The effect of this clause is to correct a drafting error in the original act, under which the Commissioner is able to determine in cases where a company carries on business in Australia and in other countries what part of the income of that company is derived in Australia. He is not able to say that the whole of it is derived in Australia; but this amendment gives him power, when ho establishes it to be a fact, to say that the whole of the profits of the company are derived in Australia. Probably there is some evasion of taxation in Australia, but it is a constant effort by the Commissioner of Taxation to discover cases of evasion, and, by amendments of the law such as this, to prevent opportunities for evasion. I give an open invitation to honorable members to make suggestions for improvements.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 (Deductions in case of composite incomes).

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