Notes for the Minister's Speech on the Second Reading
The purpose of this Bill is to declare the rates of tax payable by individuals and companies for the financial year 1955-56.
As the Treasurer announced in his Budget Speech on 24th August 1955, the proposed rates of tax for 1955-56 are the same as those enacted for the financial year 1954-55.
This Bill does, however, propose an extension of the taxation concessions granted to aged persons. I shall therefore confine my remarks to this matter which is contained in Clause 7 of the Bill.
Special concessions for aged persons were first introduced by this Government in 1951. Since then exemption levels for aged persons have either equalled or exceeded the maximum permissible income for age pension purposes. For the financial year 1954-55 the exemptions were Pd375 in the case of single persons and Pd750 in the case of married couples compared with maximum permissible incomes of Pd364 and Pd728 respectively. The maximum permissible income of an age pensioner will be increased from Pd364 to Pd390 per year as a result of the proposed increase of 10/-per week in age pensions. In the case of a married couple the maximum permissible income will be Pd780.
Accordingly Clause 7 of this Bill provides for exemption from tax for single taxpayers with incomes of Pd390 or less and married couples with incomes of Pd780 or less.
As in previous years taxpayers with incomes slightly in excess of the exemption will continue to receive some benefit from the provisions. A reduced amount of tax will be payable until normal rates of tax are reached at an income of Pd434 in the case of a single taxpayer and Pd937 in the case of a married taxpayer claiming a full deduction of Pd130 for his spouse. To provide for those cases where a taxpayer is not entitled to a full deducation for his spouse, it is necessary to make provision for payment of a lower amount of tax up to an income of Pd1030. Thereafter the normal rates are applicable.
The cost to revenue of the extension of the concessions to aged persons s estimated at Pd375,000 annually and Pd250.000 in the current year.
I commend the Bill to Honourable Senators.