LABOR TO HELP MELBOURNIANS NAVIGATE TAX SYSTEM WITH TAX CLINIC

15 April 2019

ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION AND PRODUCTIVITY
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CHARITIES AND NOT-FOR-PROFITS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE IN SERVICES
MEMBER FOR FENNER
 
GED KEARNEY
MEMBER FOR BATMAN
 
PETER KHALIL
MEMBER FOR WILLS
 
LUKE CREASEY
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR MELBOURNE


A Shorten Labor Government will ensure that all Melbournians have help navigating the tax system by helping fund the University of Melbourne Tax Clinic.
 
Labor will commit $150,000 annually to the University of Melbourne Tax Clinic as part of Labor’s proposed expansion of 10 tax clinics around Australia.
 
While multinationals and millionaires can afford an armada of experts to navigate the tax system, low and middle-income Australians are often intimidated by the tax system, and unsure where to turn to get help.
 
Tax clinics like Melbourne’s will provide free tax assistance for disadvantaged communities. Each tax clinic will have volunteers, students and pro bono tax practitioners on hand to help low income taxpayers as well as small and microbusinesses with administrative tax matters, including completing tax returns and responding to queries raised by the tax office.
 
The former Inspector General of Taxation, Ali Noroozi, has stated that tax clinics “have the potential to be of significant assistance to vulnerable taxpayers”, noting the model of Low Income Tax Clinics in the United States.
 
A Shorten Labor Government would also change the laws to allow clinics to register as tax agents in their own right, as well as providing Deductible Gift Recipient status to facilitate partnerships with experienced tax professionals and institutions.
 
Although Scott Morrison and his colleagues announced they will fund ten one-year trials for tax clinics, their plan is limited in scope and ambition and accounting bodies have raised concerns about the structure of the program. Much like their government, their plan will fail to deliver.
 
Only a Shorten Labor Government can guarantee funding certainty for tax clinics that work in the interests of all Melbournians and all Australians.