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27 Feb 099 2008 Measures No 6 Bill passed by House

On 25 February 2009, Tax Laws Amendment (2008 Measures No 6) Bill 2008 was passed by the House of Representatives with Government amendments. The Bill was introduced into the House on 3 December 2008.

The amendments introduce Schedule 5 to the Bill.

Part 1 of Schedule 5 amends the ITAA 1936 and the ITAA 1997 to make the income recovery subsidy exempt from income tax, and to ensure the subsidy is not included in separate net income for the purposes of calculating an entitlement to certain tax offsets. The income recovery subsidy will provide financial assistance to employees, small business owners and farmers who can demonstrate they have experienced a loss of income as a direct result of the 2009 Victorian bushfires or North Queensland floods.

Part 2 of Schedule 5 amends the ITAA 1997 to provide that the Treasurer may declare an event as a disaster for the purposes of establishing Australian disaster relief funds. The declaration of a disaster by the Treasurer will allow Australian disaster relief funds to receive tax deductible donations, and provide money for the relief of people in Australia in distress as a result of the disaster. Public benevolent institutions, which must normally operate for direct relief efforts, will also be able to establish Australian disaster relief funds for longer term recovery and community reconstruction efforts.

Part 2 of Schedule 5 also specifically lists the 2009 Victorian Bushfire Appeal Trust Account as a deductible gift recipient (DGR) in Division 30 of the ITAA 1997. This will ensure that the fund can use tax deductible donations for a wide range of activities, including recovery and community reconstruction efforts in communities affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires, as well as providing direct benevolent relief to affected communities.

The Bill now proceeds to the Senate.

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