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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2598..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

requires the expansion of these concepts and the Duties Act must be amended to accommodate them. A new provision in the Duties Act requires an approved person to request the commissioner to make an electronic assessment of the tax liability of a taxpayer, and then the instrument will be taken to have been lodged with the Commissioner for ACT Revenue for stamping. An instrument is stamped if it is endorsed by the commissioner or, when an electronic assessment is made, it is given a unique authorisation number. The requirement for an impressed stamp has therefore been removed.

To implement the online service, the Taxation Administration Act requires amendment in relation to the record-keeping requirements and cash payments. The current record-keeping requirements are imposed on the taxpayer. The bill extends this provision to require an approved person—that is, someone who acts on behalf of the taxpayer—to keep the appropriate records because they are responsible for inputting the taxpayer data to the online system, lodging and paying on behalf of the taxpayer, and maintaining the appropriate documentation for the taxpayer.

Mr Speaker, the final amendment is in relation to cash payments made at the ACT Revenue Office shopfront. Currently, the only cash payments accepted at the shopfront are for duty and they constitute less than one per cent of all duty transactions, with the majority of transactions being paid by bank cheque, money order or credit card. All other taxes are paid elsewhere; for example, at ACT government shopfronts, Canberra Connect and Australia Post, by BPAY and via mail. With the closure of the revenue office shopfront, cash payments can no longer be accepted and processed by counter staff. It is therefore necessary to amend the Taxation Administration Act to remove the requirement to accept cash payments at the office of the commissioner. The ACT Revenue Office will continue to cater for those clients who cannot access the online service or who are one-off users and not approved persons under the act.

A drop-off box displaying an expected turnaround time will be provided at a convenient location. Documents lodged at the drop-off box will be assessed by ACT Revenue Office staff and returned to the taxpayer. As applies under current processing via the ACT Revenue Office counter, it is the clients' responsibility to ensure that they allow sufficient time for documents to be processed. Clients will continue to have access to the customer service call centre and will be able to make appointments to speak to senior staff in relation to any issues that they may have in relation to their tax liability.

Testing of the new online lodgment and payment service is expected to commence in October. The final testing of the proposed system will involve a focus group of clients and revenue officers inputting live data associated with real transactions. These amendments therefore need to be in place prior to commencement of testing to alleviate the need for this data to be re-entered and documents physically lodged. I commend the Revenue Legislation Bill 2006 (No 2) to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Mulcahy ) adjourned to the next sitting.

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