30 Nov 10 Confidentiality of Taxpayer Information Bill awaits Royal Assent
On 26 November 2010, the Senate passed Tax Laws Amendment (Confidentiality of Taxpayer Information) Bill 2010 with 9 Opposition amendments.
The Bill returned to the House of Representatives on 29 November 2010 for consideration of the Senate amendments. On the motion of the Government, the amendments were accepted.
- amends the Taxation Administration Act 1953 to establish a framework to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information by placing a general prohibition on the disclosure of taxpayer information except in certain specified circumstances;
- makes consequential amendments to 38 other Acts;
- contains a regulation making power; and
- repeals the A New Tax System (Bonuses for Older Australians) Act 1999.
The Bill now awaits Royal Assent.
In media release No 2010/020, issued 30 November 2010, the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten, welcomed the passage of the Bill. His media release said that the standardised confidentiality framework implemented by the Bill largely replicates existing disclosures, but also introduces a limited number of new disclosure provisions in the public interest, including for law enforcement agencies and courts.
"Taxpayers have an expectation to the right to privacy of all confidential information provided to the ATO. This amendment ensures that confidentiality is protected, while still ensuring law enforcement and other appropriate agencies have the ability to access that information in the public interest," Mr Shorten said.