The Federal Government’s stimulus payments have been declared legal by the majority of the High Court bench . This means that the $900 (or less, depending on your annual income) payments will start flowing next week.
Legal academic Bryan Pape was challenging the legitimacy of the payments in the High Court, claiming the government doesn’t have the power to hand out the money as a tax bonus.
But the majority of the High Court bench has ruled that the payments are valid.
Outside the court Mr Pape said he wasn’t disappointed by the loss, instead he says he was pleased he was given the chance to mount a challenge.
I’m pleased to see the High Court reach a swift decision on this matter, as a decision either way was going to set an important precedent, and having the decision pending wasn’t helpful for anyone.
Update: The Tax Office have issued a press release , stating that stimulus payments will be made between the 6th and 16th of April:
Following the High Court’s decision, the Tax Office today said 7.4 million people who have already lodged their 2007-08 tax return will begin receiving their tax bonus payments from next week.
Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo said if people have lodged their 2007-08 tax return and meet the eligibility criteria they don’t need to do anything else to receive the payment.
“Eligible people who have received their 2007-08 notice of assessment before 27 March 2009 can expect to receive their payment between next week and 16 May 2009.
“Those who received their notice of assessment after 27 March 2009 can expect their tax bonus payment around four weeks after they received their notice of assessment.
“Please be patient if you don’t receive the payment immediately.
“We are working closely with Australia Post and the Reserve Bank to distribute around 7.4 million payments over the next six weeks.
It is not too late for people whose returns are still outstanding, but they must lodge by 30 June 2009 to be eligible unless they’ve already have an extension.
“We have extended the availability of e-tax until 31 May 2009 for those who want to do their own return online, or people should contact their tax agent as soon as possible,” Mr D’Ascenzo said.