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Thursday, 11 May 2000
Page: 16342


Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (5:23 PM) —I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

The bill will establish a new uniform penalties regime for all taxation laws administered by the commissioner. Under the current framework, penalty provisions are either duplicated or differ between different taxation laws and some tax shortfalls currently do not attract penalties. The existing framework needs to be modernised to cope with the requirements of the new tax system.

The amendments in the bill will remove inconsistencies and will rectify deficiencies that exist in the current penalties framework. As a result, the new framework will be simpler, uniform and equitable.

The bill will also make amendments to allow people other than registered tax agents to prepare or lodge a business activity statement on behalf of taxpayers and to give advice about the new tax system. Under the current law, mainly registered tax agents are only able to undertake this work.

Those who will be able to assist businesses with their obligations under the new tax system will include:

members of recognised professional associations that represent accountants and tax practitioners;

bookkeepers working under the direction of registered tax agents; and

persons who provide payroll bureau services to employers.

The bill makes a number of miscellaneous amendments to the provisions covering the pay-as-you-go arrangements, the business activity statement and general interest charge provisions to ensure a smooth transition to the new tax system on 1 July 2000.

The bill also makes amendments to the Corporations Law consequential to the introduction of the pay-as-you-go withholding arrangements. The government has consulted the Ministerial Council for Corporations about these consequential amendments and the council has approved the amendments for introduction into parliament.

Full details of the measures in this bill are contained in the explanatory memorandum.

I commend the bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Griffin) adjourned.