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Katene: Taxation Bill

Taxation (Tax Administration and Remedial Matters) Bill

Rahui Katene, Finance Spokesperson for the Maori Party

Tuesday 7 December 2010

- I'm pleased to stand to speak on this Taxation (Tax Administration and Remedial Matters) Bill which amends the Tax Administration Act 1994 to improve the ability of the Commissioner, to disclose information in the course or furthering good tax administration practice;

- We support this global goal. We support any intervention by government to support transparency and promote the effective use of government resources and taxpayer funds.

- And so we welcome the move to abolish gift duty, because it no longer raises any significant revenue and it imposes a high level of compliance costs on the private sector.

- One of the goals we campaigned on was that we would review compliance requirements so that there is no increase in compliance costs.

- And so much in the same way, we welcome the changes to the procedural rules around the tax disputes process, which together with some administrative changes to the process should make for a much more streamlined process

- The Maori Party supports the general premise of privacy law, which is the promotion and protection of individual privacy, and we have commented previously on its concerns regarding the protection of privacy and flows of personal data.

- We have raised concerns about information held by agencies, and how it is used.

- The Bill makes it easier for tax information to be shared with other government agencies in certain circumstances. These circumstances appear to be ones, which are justified, because the asking agency has the ability and authority to collect that information in its own right. The ability for this information to be shared with credit rating agencies no longer applies.

- The legislation confirmed plans to widen the scope for the IRD to share individual taxpayer information but only with government agencies who would have the power to collect the information anyway.

- I am really pleased that the legislation didn't go as far as first threatened to - which was the idea that individual files would be given across to credit rating agencies. We were definitely pleased that this idea was abandoned.

- Perhaps the only point that we do have some questions around is the decision that Donee status will be granted to some overseas "charities".

- The bill proposes that charities that apply some or all of their funds outside New Zealand must be approved for charitable donee status.

- Donations to recognised organisations entitle individual taxpayers to a credit of 33 1/3% of the amount donated up to the level of their taxable income.

- And so we have had a look at these seven organisations*.

- While we have no question at all about the immense value of the social entrepreneurship demonstrated in these seven organisations, our only questions relate to why these seven - and what was the rationale for including these seven, as opposed to say any number of other organisations that may fall into this category. Hopefully there might be others that can be added in.

- We are pleased with the way this Bill is going and we will support this Bill at its first reading.

*The seven organisations are:

* Jasmine Charitable Trust No.2

* New Zealand Good Samaritan Heart Mission to Samoa Trust

* NZ-Iraqi Relief Charitable Trust

* RNZWCS Limited

* Ruel Foundation

* The Cambodia Charitable Trust

* The Unions Aotearoa International Development Trust


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