When? Oh! When?

What do we want? Reform now!

TTR said in the May Issue that “When you wish upon a [reform from the QRO, you’re likely to be disappointed].”

Well, TTR is disappointed, to say the least!!

The Queensland State Budget 2023/2024 was introduced into Parliament on 13 June 2023 and assented to on 23 June 2023. So far as the Duties Act (DA) is concerned, that Bill only amended the DA to introduce “… additional foreign acquirer duty concessions in relation to eligible build to rent developments that include affordable housing at a discounted rent, …”

That’s right – no reform of any of the provisions of the Act crying out for attention.

In most years, there is a “Revenue Legislation Bill”, or a “Revenue and Other Legislation Bill” (or some such) introduced at the same time. As has happened in previous years, there was no prior general public review before the Budget Appropriation Acts are introduced. Sometimes, select stakeholders see the Bill and Explanatory Notes before the public does.

No way for these amendments! All you get is under the heading “Consultation” is a bizarre statement : “ Community consultation was not undertaken in relation to the amendments in the Bill as they are being implemented as part of the 2023-24 Budget or are technical amendments necessary to ensure the revenue legislation operates as intended or to support tax and royalty administration.”

What on earth does that mean?

So, last year there was limited consultation but this year there is none!

“Castle Siege” must have been well and truly rebuilt and in place!

The Rule of Law requires wide and proper consultation. Secrecy is not all important!!

So, off the top of the head, what would The Tax Reformer wish for? It’s easy to set out a long list as was done in the May Issue. Just a few then can be referred to:

Evidence that adherence to the Rule of Law is paramount as required by section 4 (4) (c) of the Legislative Standards Act 1992;
Root and branch review of the operations of each State and Territories revenue office compared with the structure and operations of the ATO;
Root and branch review of the operations of the State and Territories revenue office within a federal system and the extent that that has on costs of commerce and business;
Adopt the ATO protocol for the introduction of new legislation to achieve more accountability in the revenue offices around the jurisdictions;
Install an equivalent of the ATO Inspector General of Tax in all jurisdictions;
Make the revenue offices accountable to the equivalent of a Board of Directors;
Redraft sections of Acts which are simply low grade (see, for example, s. 12 of the Duties Act 2001 (Q):
Get the matrimonial exceptions updated and properly interrelated with the Family Law Act exemptions;
Define what a partner’s interest is, especially in the context of Chapter 10, Part 1, taking notice of the High Court case of Commissioner of State Revenue v Rojoda Pty Ltd [2020] HCA 7;
Undertake a complete review of the Public Rulings, many of which are wrong and others unclear or out of date;
Redraft s. 70 to take away the contortions of language in section 70 (1) (c) for What is a widely held unit trust;
Establish an “Ex-gratia Register” and an “Administrative Arrangements Register” (and publish those Registers on the QRO website) so all taxpayers can get the benefit of any exemptions or concessions granted to others; this practice is contrary to the Rule of Law;
Publish the legislation program;
Publish the Public Rulings program;

… and on and on …

A satirical cartoon highlighting the failures of the Queensland government's tax policy