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Taxation Institute welcomes "housekeeping budget"

Publication date: 11 May 99 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

The Taxation Institute of Australia tonight gave a cautious welcome to what National President, Mr Gordon Cooper described as "a good housekeeping budget."

At the same time Mr Cooper expressed surprise that the Budget did not address issues of "unacceptable practices" raised by the Ralph Review of Business Taxation or the Commissioner of Taxation.

These included capital loss creation using a number of companies to multiply economic losses, assignment of leases and debt, the strategic exploitationof the transitional arrangements for the taxation of trusts and certain superannuation arrangements.

Mr Cooper called on Treasurer Peter Costello to clarify John Ralph's suggested introduction of remedial rules to address the avoidance opportunities when he released his discussion paper, A Platform for Consultation, in February this year. The Institute maintains its opposition to retrospective legislation.

Mr Cooper said taxation practitioners may be reasonably happy with the Budget's lack of taxation measures -"they are already dealingwith the existing system, with the changes introduced as a result of thetaxation law rewrite program, and the foreshadowed arrangements for aNew Tax System," he said.

Hopefully the lack of tax legislation in the Budget would give the Governmenttime to do something about the serious logjam of tax legislation already before Parliament - some of which dated back two years, he added.

Mr Cooper said one tiny step in the right direction in the Budget involved the replacing of tax concessions for heritage conservation with a grant system.

He said it made sense to remove such tax expenditure from the uncontrolled area of concessions into the controlled area of grants.