The Senate

Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Bill (No. 2) 1964

Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act (No. 2) 1964

the Minister's Second Reading Speech

By this Bill it is proposed to amend the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act for a number of purposes.

The first of these purposes to which I would refer is the provision of an exemption from income tax on pay and allowances paid to members of the citizen forces in respect of their part-time training. This provision will give effect to a decision announced by my colleague, the Minister for Defence, in June last when he made a statement concerning government proposals in the field of Australia's defence planning. The government believes that the exemption will not only serve to emphasise the importance of citizen forces in the Australian defence structure but will also provide an incentive for young people to undertake this very important service.

It is also proposed by the Bill to provide machinery for the granting of special tax concessions to civilian personnel contributed by Australia for service with an armed force of the United Nations overseas. It is proposed that the special concessions will apply in the first instance to the Australian police unit at present serving with forces of the United Nations in Cyprus. They would also, however, be available for application in appropriate circumstances in relation to other civilian personnel that Australia may in future contribute to United Nations forces. I would mention that, broadly speaking, the concessions proposed for these people correspond with the concessions that are granted to members of the Australian defence forces serving overseas in troubled areas.

Another amendment proposed by the Bill relates to the secrecy provisions of the income tax law. As Honorable Senators know, taxation officials are bound to observe complete secrecy about the affairs of taxpayers. Provisions are made in the law, however, for this obligation of secrecy to be relaxed so that the Commissioner of Taxation may communicate to various Crow i authorities information required for the satisfactory administration of other laws. By this Bill, the Commissioner will be authorised to convey specified information to the Commonwealth Statistician to assist in the collection of statistics on employment. The Commissioner will be authorised to supply to the Statistician only the names, addresses and industries of persons who are employers under the group certificate and tax instalment stamp systems. No other information in the returns or assessments of taxpayers will be disclosed to the Statistician.

The Bill also contains a provision affecting provisional tax for the income year 1964-65. The purpose of this provision is to ensure that provisional tax for that year is calculated without reference to the 5% rebate which, as the Treasurer announced in his Budget Speech, is not to be continued in relation to that year.

More detailed explanations of the various provisions of the Bill are set out in a memorandum circulated to Honorable Senators.

I commend the Bill to the Senate.