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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

Jacqui is a Senior Lecturer at ATAX, University of New South Wales.
Current at 3 June 2005
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Prof Michael Walpole CTA
Prof Michael Walpole is a Professor of Taxation Law in the School of Accounting, Auditing and Taxation (including Atax) at UNSW Business School. Prior to academic life, Michael was variously a Tax Consultant with Ernst & Young, and was in private practice as a legal practitioner. 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 the editor of the Australian Tax Forum and is an International Research Fellow at the Oxford University Centre for Business Tax in the Said Business School, University of Oxford. He has been a visiting Professor at the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration and remains involved in its work on GST/VAT. - Current at 21 December 2020
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