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Wednesday, 28 October 1970

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

(1)   What taxation concessions are extended to ambulance services.

(2)   Are ambulance services subject to (a) payroll tax, (b) sales tax on the purchase of vehicles and (c) petrol tax.

(3)   Are taxpayers contributions to ambulance funds tax deductible.

(4)   In view of the financial difficulties being experienced by ambulance services, will consideration be given to providing relief from tax impositions.

Mr Bury - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Ambulance services which qualify as public benevolent institutions are exempt from income tax on any income derived. Donors who make gifts of S2 and upwards to an ambulance service which is classified as a public benevolent institution are allowed income tax deductions for such gifts.

Ambulance services in this category are nol liable for pay-roll tax and are entitled to exemption from sales tax on goods purchased for their use and not for resale. Other ambulance societies are not exempt from pay-roll tax but are entitled to exemption from sales tax on machinery and equipment for use in connection with the preservation of human life or the transport of persons for the purposes of medical or surgical treatment.

The New South Wales Ambulance Service Board which conducts ambulance services throughout New South Wales is accepted as a public benevolent institution and is. therefore, exempt from pay-roll tax and from sales tax on goods for its own use and not for resale, lt is also exempt from income lax and gifts to it of $2 and upwards are allowable deductions.

(2)   (a) Ambulance services which qualify as public benevolent institutions are exempt from pay-roll tax but other ambulance services are subject to payroll tax.

(b)   Ambulance societies, whether public benevolent institutions or not, are exempt from sales tax on the purchase of ambulances.

(c)   Ambulance services are not entitled to duty-free petrol. A duty-free concession is provided in Excise Item 10a (and in an equivalent Customs Tariff item) in respect of articles being the property of the Commonwealth Government. Under these provisions, a Commonwealth ambulance service such as operated in the Australian Capital Territory by the Department of Health would be entitled to duty-free petrol.

(3)   Periodical subscriptions which entitle contributors to be provided with ambulance facilities as required are not allowable deductions for income tax purposes.

(4)   The provision of ambulance services in the States is the responsibility of the respective State Governments and I am not, therefore, in a position to comment on their financial condition. For the same reason the Commonwealth has consistently refused to make grants to State ambulance services or to provide indirect assistance through further taxation concessions of the kind implicit in the honourable member's question.

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