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Tax Office Board, not more enquiries

Publication date: 24 Jul 00 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

"True Tax Office accountability would be achieved by the creation of an independent Board to whom the Commissioner of Taxation should report", Taxation Institute President, Mr Ray Conwell, said today. Mr Conwell was responding to calls in the wake of the Sunday program for another enquiry into the Australian Taxation Office and the rulings system.

"Another enquiry would be a waste of time and resources and unlikely to add much to the debate on ATO accountability," he said. "Several Parliamentary enquiries into the Taxation Office have been held in recent years and, while identifying particular shortcomings in administration, have generally endorsed the efficiency of the ATO.

"A Board to which the Commissioner of Taxation would be accountable for the administration and efficiency of the Australian tax system would have real teeth and provide real accountability," Mr Conwell said.

The Taxation Institute has, for many years, called for the creation of a statutory Taxation Board with full management powers over the Australian Taxation Office. While the Government has announced its acceptance in principle of the Ralph Review recommendation for a Taxation Policy Board, the proposed Board would have no powers over administration of the ATO. But the Treasurer has even rejected the Review's recommendation that the members of this Board be truly independent and appointed by the Governor-General.

"A Board with power over administration of the ATO and to whom the Commissioner reported is absolutely essential to ensure true accountability," he said.

"The Taxation Institute calls on the Government to do the only thing that will ensure proper accountability of the ATO and immediately announce the creation of an independent Board with full powers to oversight the efficient administration of the Tax Office."