Page 2664 - Week 09 - Thursday, 25 August 1994

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buildings located in an area of Canberra isolated from normal city or town amenities. The Parliamentary Triangle is also bereft of either convenient after-hours bus services or alternative public transport, eg frequent train and/or tram services taken as normal in other capital cities.

Your petitioners therefore request that the Assembly abandons the proposal.

Petition received.


MS FOLLETT (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (10.31): I present the Taxation (Administration) (Amendment) Bill 1994.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Madam Speaker, the Bill proposes a number of amendments to the Taxation (Administration) Act 1987. These proposals will affect the way unpaid taxes are recovered and returns are lodged for assessment and the period in which assessments can be amended. Amendments are also to be made to the Act to recognise the repeal of the Companies Act 1981.

Where a taxpayer is dissatisfied with an assessment of tax liability, that taxpayer may appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Where the taxpayer alleges that the assessment is excessive, an issue can arise as to which of the parties - the Commissioner for ACT Revenue or the taxpayer - should carry the primary onus of proving their case. As many assessments are for considerable amounts, this uncertainty should be removed. To protect ACT revenue, amendments in this Bill will clarify the issue by providing that the burden of proving that an assessment is excessive rests upon the taxpayer. This amendment recognises the principle that it is the taxpayer who is generally the best acquainted with their own affairs and has access to all the material facts and is therefore well placed to prove their case against the commissioner's decision. This principle has been recognised in the tax legislation of the Commonwealth and various State jurisdictions, including New South Wales.

The placing of the onus of proof on the taxpayer will not, however, extinguish the requirement for the commissioner to furnish particulars supporting an assessment in the legal process, nor will it lessen the onus on the commissioner to act fairly and reasonably when determining an assessment. This Bill also amends the Act to provide that any action taken for the recovery of a tax debt is taken, not in the name of the Territory, as is presently the case, but in the name of the commissioner on behalf of the Territory.

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