Peter Costello

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Bill to Cut Tax Legislation by More Than 4,100 Pages

NO.018

BILL TO CUT TAX LEGISLATION BY MORE THAN 4,100 PAGES

The Treasurer today released draft legislation containing proposals to repeal more than 4,100 pages from Australia's tax legislation. The release of the exposure draft follows work done by the Board of Taxation in its report Identification and possible repeal of the inoperative provisions of the 1936 and 1997 Income Tax Assessment Acts that the Treasurer announced on 24 November 2005.

In announcing the release of the draft legislation, the Treasurer said the exposure draft is a major step to reducing the complexity of tax laws. The exposure draft proposes to reduce the income tax law by more than 31 percent, that is, by almost one-third. The Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 will be reduced to half its current size.

In addition to the 2,100 pages of income tax law originally identified as inoperative by the Board, the Government has identified 500 more pages of inoperative provisions in the income tax law and 1,500 pages of inoperative tax Acts (eg, Sales Tax Acts).

The exposure draft proposes to repeal inoperative provisions and inoperative Acts. Inoperative provisions and Acts are those that no longer apply to taxpayers, either because they have no effect after a date in the past or because all the transactions or events they did affect have now concluded. Release as an exposure draft will provide a final public verification process to ensure that the provisions identified are truly inoperative.

In announcing the release of the exposure draft, the Treasurer said 'the Government has also taken the opportunity to make a number of minor improvements to the usability and readability of tax law. For example, it makes a number of amendments to ensure that certain expressions are defined in only one way across the tax laws. The Government will continue to take such opportunities to improve the usability and readability of the tax laws in the future'.

Consistent with the Government's approach of removing redundant material from tax laws, the Treasury will also prepare amendments to repeal identified inoperative regulations. The Treasurer has also asked the Commissioner of Taxation to consider the impact of the proposed changes on rulings and other materials.

The exposure draft and the accompanying explanatory material can be found on the Treasury website at www.treasury.gov.au.

Interested parties are invited to submit comments on the exposure draft by 5 May 2006.

Comments can be submitted by email to inoperativeprovisions@treasury.gov.au or mailed to:

The Manager
Tax Code Unit
Tax Design Division
The Treasury
Langton Crescent
PARKES ACT 2600

All comments not marked 'Confidential' will be treated as public and may be placed on the Treasury's website. Therefore, any submissions which are confidential should be clearly marked as such.

CANBERRA
4 April 2006

Contact: David Alexander
02 6277 7340

4 Apr 2006

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