Page 3813 - Week 12 - Thursday, 29 October 2015

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Third, the bill protects revenue by preventing past tax liabilities from being reassessed for excluded organisations on charitable grounds. This is necessary to secure revenue. As excluded organisations have the right to lodge late objections to tax assessments, there is a risk that they will be able to legally claim refunds for past periods if they were considered charities under the common law up to the point the bill commences. This bill stops excluded organisations claiming refunds unless they obtain a beneficial organisation determination from the commissioner, enabling them to receive a refund. Retrospectivity is necessary to maintain a sustainable tax exemption for all charities. Without this element, affected organisations could still dispute their past liabilities, placing millions of dollars of collected tax at risk.

I would like now to strongly emphasise that this bill will affect only the charitable exemptions for organisations that are chambers of commerce, professional societies and commercial peak bodies. These are large bodies that pay wages above the ACT’s already very generous payroll-tax-free threshold of $1.85 million a year in Australia-wide wages—soon to be $2 million—and the bill will ensure that they pay their fair share of tax.

The government supports the good work of charitable organisations and is legislating to maintain a sustainable tax system. This bill will focus the scope of charitable exemptions to where they are most deserved. Maintaining a strong revenue base for the territory is in the interests of the whole community and I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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

Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

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

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (10.25): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I present to the Assembly the Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, which aims to improve, clarify and simplify legislation administered by the ACT Revenue Office. The Revenue Office has identified legislative and administrative areas where various tax laws could be improved. The minor policy and technical amendments as presented in this bill ensure that ACT tax laws operate efficiently and effectively, whilst protecting the integrity of the territory’s taxation system.

This omnibus bill amends a number of the territory’s taxation acts, including the Duties Act 1999, the Land Tax Act 2004 and the Taxation Administration Act

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