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Friday, 19 March 1926

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - During the secondreading debate I asked the Minister to inform the Senate how much money was involved in the bill. The Minister did not condescend even to reply at the close of the second-reading debate. I repeat the question. What is the amountinvolved, and to whom will it be paid?

Senator Crawford - I have already told the committee that the information is not available.

Senator NEEDHAM - This is a bill to validatea bad act. Although it is the result of bad advice by the Crown Law Department, the Minister is not able to tell us the amount of money involved . Surely the Commissioner of Taxation could inform him. I think I am asking only a fair question of the Minister. The clause reads -

Where the paid-up value of any shares distributed out of taxed profits has been included in any assessment under the Income Tax Assessment Act, as being income within the meaning of paragraph (b) of section fourteen of that act, and income tax has been paid on that value, any refund of the income tax so paid made by the Commissioner prior to the commencement of this act shall be deemedto be, and at all times to have been, as lawfully made as if that value had been exempt from income tax under that act.

I am surprised that the Minister is not in a position to inform the committee of the amount of money involved.

Senator Crawford -It would mean an examination of many thousands of assessments.

Senator NEEDHAM - Would it have taken three years, the period during which this bill has been under consideration, to make that examination?

Senator Crawford - It is not three years since judgment was given in the James case.

Senator NEEDHAM - As the Minister is not in a position to inform the committee of the amount involved, further consideration of the measure should be postponed until that information is forthcoming.

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