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The expectations of tax agents dealing with the GST


This article reports on research on the gap between the expectations that tax agents, who engage in GST work, have of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO); and the expectations that ATO staff have of tax agents. The research is based on responses to a 2002/2003 survey of a sample of registered tax agents. The ATO was unable to participate. Similar surveys have been undertaken in the United Kingdom. Inter alia, the research reported here revealed mixed views on the part of practitioners. Many felt the administrators had a poor understanding of business and of the tax agents’ work and processes. More than half the group thought GST is fair and principled, but three-quarters of the group agreed that GST is not easy. The sample had a favourable view of GST public rulings, but a less favourable view of other ATO advice and communications. The research provides a valuable snapshot of tax agents’ perceptions of the GST and its administrators in the early years of GST and it is suggested that more research – and the comparison with the ATO view of practitioners would be illuminating.

Author profiles:

Author Photo - Michael Walpole CTA
Prof Michael Walpole CTA

Professor Michael Walpole is the Associate Head of School (Research) at the School of Taxation and Business Law (including Atax) in the Australian School of Business.

Michael has a PhD in Taxation Law from the Faculty of Law UNSW. Prior to academic life, Michael worked as a Tax Consultant with Ernst & Young, and prior to that he was in private practice as a legal practitioner. As a partner in a small firm, Michael's legal practice was extremely varied. As an academic he has been awarded the Hill Medal by the Australasian Tax Teachers Association (ATTA) for his contribution to tax teaching and is a past President of ATTA.

Michael has authored and co-authored several books including Proposals for the Reform of the Taxation of Goodwill, Understanding Taxation Law and Compliance Cost Control. Michael has also written and presented many papers on his research topics to practitioner and academic audiences in Australia and overseas. He is co-editor of the Australian Tax Review and he is also author and co-author of a number of articles on GST, taxation of intellectual property, tax administration and taxation compliance costs, especially psychological costs of taxation compliance.

Michael is an International Research Fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Business Tax in the Said Business School, University of Oxford.

Current at 31 October 2013 Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Michael WALPOLE.
Jacqui is a Senior Lecturer at ATAX, University of New South Wales.
Current at 3 June 2005
Click here to expand/collapse more articles by Jacqui MCMANUS.
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