Bills Digest No.157  1997-98 Taxation Laws Improvement Bill (No. 2) 1997

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This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.


Passage History
Main Provisions
Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Passage History

Taxation Laws Improvement Bill (No. 2) 1997

Date Introduced: 27 November 1997

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Treasury

Commencement: Generally, the measures contained in the Bill will apply for the 1998-99 and later tax years.


To implement the second phase of the Taxation Laws Improvement Project (TLIP).


TLIP arose as a result of a November 1993 report by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts which recommended the establishment of a task force to rewrite the current income tax laws contained in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (ITAA) and the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986. The recommendation was accepted by the government in December 1993. According to Information Paper No. 1, August 1994, issued by TLIP:

The aim of the project is to restructure, renumber and rewrite the income tax law so that it can be more easily understood by those who need to read it.(1)

TLIP aims to reduce compliance costs by making income tax laws easier to understand but a basis of the project is that it is not intended to reform the tax process or review tax policy.(2)

TLIP contains a consultative committee to include the views of business, the professions and the wider community. Exposure Drafts of the various sections of the rewrite are also released prior to their adoption, subject to modification, in legislation. Although there have been some disagreements between the various interest bodies, the rewrite has aroused little media or public attention. The Bills implementing TLIP, of which this is the second, are considered by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and this Bill has been referred to that Committee.

TLIP was funded from 1 July 1994 and was expected to last for 3 years.(3) TLIP has obviously exceeded its original, proposed timeframe. While considerable work remains to be done on the rewriting of the income tax laws, TLIP's Exposure Draft No. 12, dated September 1997, states that TLIP is scheduled to complete its work in mid 1999. That Exposure Draft also contains a Table dealing with the areas already dealt with in earlier legislation and Exposure Drafts and the areas yet to be covered. The cost of TLIP to this date is not mentioned in either the Explanatory Memorandum or Second Reading Speech to the Bill.

Main Provisions

This Bill deals with:

  • capital gains and losses;
  • company bad debts;
  • horticultural plants;
  • averaging primary producers' tax liability;
  • environment; and
  • above average special professional income.

It may be noted that the Bill contains amendments to both the ITAA and the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

As the Bill is not intended to implement any policy changes, a comparison of the provisions of the Bill and the ITAA would be beyond the available resources of the IRS and as the Bill is being examined by the Joint Standing Committee of Public Accounts, the individual provisions of the Bill will not be examined.


  1. TLIP, The Broad Framework, Information Paper No. 1, August 1994, 3.
  2. Ibid., 6. Also note that the Information Paper contains a specific section on why TLIP is not about policy change.
  3. Ibid., 3 & 5.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Chris Field
12 March 1998
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This paper has been prepared for general distribution to Senators and Members of the Australian Parliament. While great care is taken to ensure that the paper is accurate and balanced, the paper is written using information publicly available at the time of production. The views expressed are those of the author and should not be attributed to the Information and Research Services (IRS). Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion. Readers are reminded that the paper is not an official parliamentary or Australian government document.

IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents with Senators and Members
and their staff but not with members of the public.

ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 1997

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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1997.

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