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A Win For King Island and Furneaux Islands Residents

Publication date: 27 May 03 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

Residents of the King and Furneaux Islands can now receive a tax refund as great as $6,835 per individual or where families are concerned, more. After 18 months of discussion between the Taxation Institute of Australia and The Commissioner of Taxation, the Taxation Office has agreed to allow residents of King Island and the Furneaux Group of Islands in Bass Strait to back claim the special Zone B offset for tax years prior to 1997-1998.

"In what is seen as a good result for the island's residents, the Commissioner advised the Taxation Institute today that the Tax Office will allow the residents of King Island and the Furneaux Group of Islands to claim the special Zone B tax offset from the 1990-1991 tax year, which is the year in which the special Zone system was introduced" said Craig Leighton, Tasmanian Chairman of the Taxation Institute of Australia.

The issue arose in 2001, when the Tax Office reviewed the ordinary Zone B status of the Islands.

"Although it appears that they had been wrongly classified since 1991, residents were only able to have their returns adjusted back to 1998 due to restrictions on amendment periods" Mr Leighton explained.

"After much discussion the Commissioner has exercised his discretion, allowing taxpayers who were residents in all or any of the years 1990-91 to 1996-97 to be entitled to a greater remote area tax offset" he continued.

Although it has taken 18 months, Mr Leighton was pleased that the Commissioner, Michael Carmody aided in facilitating the right outcome. The Tax Office has advised the Taxation Institute that it will notify all affected residents in the near future. As part of this process, the Tax Office will be asking residents to lodge objections to assessments for the relevant years and to request an extension of time for the lodgement of the objections. To assist residents in making their claims, a letter will be sent to them, which will include a pro forma objection letter and request for an extension of time. The Tax Office has put in place a streamlined process for the processing of the objections and provision of refunds, which will also include an amount for interest on overpayment of tax.

"After months of persistence by Taxation Institute representatives, this is a pleasing outcome for the residents of the islands and the Institute is proud to have played a part in justice being done." completed Mr Leighton