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Thursday, 14 November 1985
Page: 2149


Senator WALSH (Minister for Finance)(12.42) —In regard to documents despatched from the Australian Taxation Office, I suppose it cannot guarantee that such documents have actually been delivered because the possibility of their being mislaid or even stolen in transit exists. However, independent records are kept of documents which have been put into the Australia Post bags. I understand some special postal arrangements are available to the Taxation Office. So although I guess one cannot guarantee with certainty that documents have been delivered, one can be as certain as one can be in an uncertain world that they have been posted.

The other point related to the assertion that a taxpayer's claim to have posted a document is treated differently from the Tax Office's claim. To be realistic I think we must acknowledge that the individuals working in the Taxation Office could not conceivably have any personal motive for making inaccurate claims, whereas from time to time taxpayers do have a personal incentive to do so. Without wishing to cast aspersions on individuals, one must assume that on average the officials of the Taxation Office are more likely to be telling the truth at all times than are taxpayers. In regard to the final question, I do not know whether the procedures in the Taxation Office are under review or whether consideration is being given to making them more effective. I will see whether the Treasurer has any response to that.