Finance Minister weighs in on capital gains tax pushback

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Section
Audio,
Publish Date
Friday, 8 February 2019, 7:44a.m.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson has weighed in on the capital gains tax debate after it was labelled an "accident waiting to happen" by the New Zealand and Australian accountants.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has weighed in on the capital gains tax debate after it was labelled an "accident waiting to happen" by the New Zealand and Australian accountants.

They want the Government to delay introducing legislation for any capital gains tax until after next year's election, saying doing so before then would be too rushed.

However, Grant Robertson disagrees, telling Mike Hosking there is enough time.

"We [Government] have been talking with the IRD officials and we believe the time is there."

"Everyone is getting ahead of themselves, we haven't made our decisions yet on the Tax Working Group report."

"But we do believe there is time, in the parliamentary calendar to do what we told the public we would do."

Last week the Government received the much-anticipated Tax Working Group report and says it will respond to its recommendations in two months' time.

The report won't be made public until later this month.

Any legislation which may result from the group's work would be passed before the end of this parliamentary term.

However, Robertson said any new tax policy won't come into force until April 2021, after the 2020 election.

"The commitment we made in the election campaign was that if we went ahead with this, and paved the legislation before the election, it would not come into force until after the election, so the public would absolutely get to have their say."

He said the feedback is helpful and will be considered, along with public submissions.

"They have actually put in some useful and helpful suggestions and submissions, as a lot of other New Zealanders have, we are going to look at those and listen to what people have to say before we make any decisions."

Robertson denied accusations that the Government has already made up its mind on the capital gains tax.

"I don't accept that at all actually. There is going to be ample time for people to have their say about this."

New Zealand and Australian accountants NZ Tax leader, John Cuthbertson told Mike Hosking finalising the legislation before the election is an extremely ambitious task.

"The Government initially said they wanted to enact the legislation pre-election, and then let the electorate decide and if that worked in their favour, from April 2021 we would have a capital gains legislation."

"That's still incredibly ambitious to get that legislation enacted in an election year. Basically, you would have to have it done and dusted by August next year," he said.

That doesn't really give a lot of time to have a full public consultation...to then get the appropriate legislation drafted, take it through the normal select committee process."

"It's quite a long process and we believe that such complicated areas like capital gains taxes need that time to get it right."

Cuthbertson said in the past, rushed legislation has been at the expense of consultation.

He said it is important to get legislation first the right time so there aren't any unintended consequences.

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