TAX­ING TIMES FOR COUN­CIL­LORS

Sunday Tasmanian - - News -

THE plea for higher coun­cil­lor al­lowances is in­ter­est­ing but not the whole story ( Sun­day

Tas­ma­nian, Novem­ber 26). Coun­cil­lors fall into the cat­e­gory of al­ready hav­ing a full­time job, or are re­tirees. My un­der­stand­ing is that be­cause they are not em­ployed by the coun­cil, the al­lowances are taxfree. They are tax-free be­cause the coun­cil­lors do not get hol­i­day pay, or over­time, or sick pay.

The al­lowance is to re­im­burse costs in­curred in the pur­suit of coun­cil busi­ness. As such, costs may re­late to travel within the mu­nic­i­pal­ity; com­mu­ni­ca­tion costs; and meet­ings with res­i­dents.

If the coun­cil­lor pays for this ac­tiv­ity and sub­mits re­ceipts for re­im­burse­ment, they are cov­ered.

I be­lieve that con­fer­ences held by the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion are an­other cost, and have been told may be as much as $600. I be­lieve this is a cost re­im­bursable on tax­a­tion, but not by the coun­cil.

Coun­cil­lors do not get re­mu­ner­a­tion for per­sonal items, such as ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals. Coun­cil­lors are not full­time em­ploy­ees, so a “pay rise’’ ap­pears a mis­nomer.

The sug­ges­tion that fi­nan­cial in­creases would be more palat­able if coun­cil amal­ga­ma­tions were pur­sued ap­pears fair. There would also be less room for nepo­tism in larger coun­cil ar­eas.

If the re­im­burse­ment pol­icy is fol­lowed in all coun­cils, there would be less claims of credit card abuse. P.A. Kyne Geeve­ston

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