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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 6 December 2007) . . Page.. 4019 ..

Thursday, 6 December 2007

The Assembly met at 10.30 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Payroll Tax Amendment Bill 2007

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (10.33): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the Payroll Tax Amendment Bill 2007 amends the Payroll Tax Act 1987 to implement national payroll tax reforms as agreed by all state and territory treasurers in March 2007. The bill also includes some amendments to the Taxation Administration Act 1999 which are necessary as a result of the Payroll Tax Act amendments.

This national payroll tax harmonisation project was announced in a joint press release issued by all state and territory treasurers on 29 March 2007. The project aims to make certain aspects of payroll tax administration more consistent across jurisdictions and reduce compliance costs for businesses that operate across state and territory borders. The reforms address eight important areas of the payroll tax system, and it was agreed by the treasurers that these measures are to be in place no later than 1 July 2008. I bear that in mind in introducing this bill now so it can be considered and debated early in the new year, thus providing advance notice for employers to conform with the new regime.

The rates of tax and the tax-free thresholds have rightly been excluded from consideration to allow jurisdictions to continue to control their individual policies and budgets with respect to payroll tax. Of the eight common provisions and definitions agreed, the ACT already complies with two—that is, the timing of lodgement and the inclusion of superannuation contributions for non-working directors as wages.

The existing ACT Payroll Tax Act includes employee share acquisition schemes as wages. The provisions include the value of an employer’s contribution to any grant of a share or option to an employee, a director, or former director, and a member, or former member, of a governing body of the company. This bill amends the provisions

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