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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 17 November 2015) . . Page.. 4008 ..

As members have outlined, it amends the Taxation Administration Act 1999, the Duties Act 1999, the Rates Act 2004, the Land Tax Act of that year, the Land Rent Act 2008 and the First Home Owner Grant Act 2000 and the Payroll Tax Act 2011, presenting minor policy and technical amendments that will help support the effectiveness of our tax laws. These improvements will also assist taxpayers in understanding their obligations and will provide administrative efficiencies to the Revenue Office.

The bill improves equity for taxpayers. For example, currently ACT taxpayers can formally object to the Commissioner for ACT Revenue regarding interest on some tax assessments. However, this objection right does not extend to interest charged on rates or land tax. This bill will allow objections to be lodged to interest charged on these two tax lines if an assessment of rates or land tax includes a refusal to remit any interest charged. This amendment, therefore, ensures that access to the objection process is applicable equally across all taxes and enhances the standards of the objection process.

The bill will address some administrative concerns that will result in land developers and builders being unaware of their land tax liabilities. The bill addresses the issue of awareness of liabilities by maintaining the exemption but now requiring corporations to apply to the revenue office to receive it. That will make affected taxpayers aware of the imposed conditions such as the two-year exemption period and will assist in reducing the potential for tax defaults.

To increase the legislative and administrative clarity of the Rates Act and the Land Tax Act, the bill consolidates provisions relating to the sale of land that are currently found separately in both acts.

The bill will achieve greater legislative harmonisation with other jurisdictions in relation to duties. The Duties Act currently provides 95 per cent of duty relief to eligible corporate groups who undertake a reconstruction of that group where there has been no change in the ultimate beneficial ownership of the group’s assets. The bill will increase this duty relief to a full 100 per cent on eligible reconstructions and will consolidate the corporate reconstruction provisions currently placed in the various sections of the Duties Act into one section.

The Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill will improve the functionality of the ACT tax system for both administrators and taxpayers. It provides a valuable reduction of red tape and simplifies processes. Importantly, the amendments to this bill will also protect the integrity of the tax system for the territory and help ensure our tax laws are operating as they were intended and with appropriate fairness.

The bill is also an example of more efficiency to come from the ACT Revenue Office. The good news is: there is even more efficiency to come from the ACT Revenue Office as it undertakes a range of major improvements to its operating systems and customer service delivery. Through the revenue collection transformation program, a vital investment made by the government to transform the Revenue Office—I thank those opposite for their support of this initiative––we will be further improving systems, stakeholder engagement processes and customer experiences.

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