Notes for the Treasurer's Second Reading Speech
This Bill proposes a small number of amendments to the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Act.
One amendment adds the names of two new institutions to the list of those to which gifts of Pd1 or more are allowable as income tax deductions. These institutions are the National Trust of Queensland and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.
Gifts of Pd1 or more to the National Trusts of all the other States and the Northern Territory are already allowable as income tax deductions. The National Trust of Queensland has the same objects as the other National Trusts. It is, of course, appropriate that gifts to it should be given the same treatment for income tax purposes as gifts to the National Trusts of other States.
Honorable Members will recall that I foreshadowed an amendment to treat gifts to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust as allowable deductions in a statement I made on 25th February 1965.
Another amendment made by the Bill is of a purely formal nature. It arises from a change in the designations of the Treasury officers who carry out the function of Chairman of the Tax Agents' Board in each of the States.
The remaining amendments deal with the taxation treatment of monetary benefits granted under the Commonwealth's scheme for the provision of scholarships for students at secondary and technical schools.
Honorable Members will be familiar with the details of this scheme. The Minister in charge of Commonwealth activities in Education and Research (Senator Gorton) has made comprehensive statements regarding it. In these circumstances I do not propose in this speech to go into the various arrangements that have been made for the implementation of the scheme. 2.
In a statement made by the Minister on 24th November 1964 he explained the Government's proposals in relation to the taxation treatment of the benefits payable under the scheme. I a effect, the Minister stated that the income tax law would be amended so that payments under the scheme are exempt from income tax in the hands of the recipients. He also said that a consequential amendment would be made to make it clear that a taxpayer is not entitled to a concessional deduction for the education expenses of a student that are, under the scheme, recouped to him by the Commonwealth through the payment by it of benefits related to school books and certain school fees.
This Bill gives effect to these two proposals.
The benefits are, of course, already being paid and, for this reason, the amendments will be operative for the first time in relation to the current income year 1964-65.
A memorandum explaining the various clauses of the Bill is being made available for the information of Honorable Members and I do not propose to make any further comments on it at this stage.
I commend the Bill to the House.