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New Tax Advisory Boards proposed to oversee Tax Office and Government

Publication date: 12 Mar 98 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

The Taxation Institute of Australia has recommended the Federal Government establish two separate 'Tax Advisory Boards' to improve the administration of the tax law and ensure that broad policy implications of existing and proposed laws are fully considered.

This recommendation forms an integral part of a submission on tax reform put forward by the Taxation Institute to the Gibson Committee titled Tax Reform in Australia.

The proposed boards would be the 'Taxation Administration Review Board' and the 'Taxation Policy Review Board'. Each board would have a different focus, different responsibilities and different members.

"Establishing a formal system of review will introduce more certainty and consistency into the tax administration and policy process in Australia and ultimately benefit the Australian taxpaying community," said Taxation Institute of Australia Tax Technical Director, Ms Annamaria Carey.

"The Taxation Policy Review Board would concentrate on ongoing reform of the tax system and ensure that the tax system complements other government policies rather than operating in direct opposition to those policies - as is often the case at present."

"This Board should also comprise of private sector representatives such as lawyers and accountants with a knowledge of tax, small and large business representatives and senior staff of related government departments."

"The establishment of such a board would hopefully result in legislation that is better drafted, better reflects Government policy and which will not result in disproportionate compliance costs for Australian Business," she said.

"The Taxation Administration Review Board would oversee the proper administration of the ATO and recommend improvements where necessary. This Board would guide the direction of long term strategy of the ATO and comprise of private sector representatives and senior ATO staff."

"However, the Taxation Administration Review Board would have no involvement in specific matters in the areas of interpretation or enforcement of tax laws, nor will it have any access to taxpayer information."

"Although we recommend that the Commissioner of Taxation be a member of both proposed Boards, they should be chaired by a senior Government Minister rather than by the Commissioner," Ms Carey said.