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Tax Law On Maori Organisations To Be Revamped

"The income tax rules applying to Maori organisations and businesses that manage Maori assets need to be simplified and updated," Revenue Minister Michael Cullen and Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said today.

They were commenting on the release of a discussion document on proposed tax law changes that will affect a broad range of Maori authorities, including marae, runanga, land trusts, trust boards and incorporations.

"The rules were last revised 50 years ago. They are confusing, sometimes result in double taxation, and impose unnecessarily high compliance costs," Dr Cullen said.

Mr Horomia said the government was inviting feedback on three options based on income tax law but modified to take account of the specific characteristics of Maori organisations.

"They would be able to choose whether to be taxed under the Maori authority rules or the ordinary income tax rules," he said.

Dr Cullen said the definition of 'Maori authority' would be clarified to ensure that only Maori organisations and businesses that administered Maori property in common ownership could apply the special rules.

The review also proposed changes to the charitable status requirements for an exemption from income tax so that an entity would not cease to be eligible simply because its purpose was to benefit a group of people connected by blood ties or whakapapa.

"To assist the consultations, officials are holding information workshops around the country during this month and next. We hope all those interested will take this opportunity to help shape policy," the Ministers said.

Taxation of Maori organisations is available at Bennett's Government Bookshops and at www.taxpolicy.govt.nz or at www.treasury.govt.nz.


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