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Independence and Clarity Key for Sound Tax Administration.

Publication date: 14 Mar 13 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

Thursday, March 14: New Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan's plan to address long-held concerns over perceived bias in the Tax Office appeals process and place renewed focus on producing timely guidance on emerging tax law, is a welcome initiative, the Tax Institute said today.

“Currently, the ATO is the judge, jury and executioner in determining the fate of taxpayers, with the expensive Court and Tribunal process left as the only other taxpayer recourse,” said Tax Institute President, Steve Westaway.

The Commissioner's speech to the Tax Institute's National Convention in Perth today, announced an independent Tax Office appeals division, which, according to Mr Westaway, will go a long way towards addressing any actual or perceived bias in the handling of tax audits and disputes.

“Access to an independent and relatively inexpensive appeals process will bolster taxpayer confidence in the integrity of our tax administration system,” he said.

The Tax institute also welcomed the Commissioner’s announcement of a renewed focus on producing timely ATO guidance on emerging tax law and renewed commitment to the tripartite tax law design process.

According to Mr Westaway, “Whenever changes are made to tax law, the pertinent question on taxpayers’ minds is ‘How will the Commissioner administer the new law?’”

“A specific ATO focus on providing a timely answer to this question will go a long way towards reducing uncertainty for individual taxpayers and businesses alike,” he said.

“Tax law design produces best results in a tripartite consultation setting, when the ATO, private sector tax experts and Treasury address tax policy and implementation matters collaboratively."

We have long advocated for well resourced tripartite consultation focussed on developing laws in the national interest.

As the nation's leading professional association in tax, we look forward to working with the ATO and Treasury to ensure those members with the necessary expertise are involved in this process." 

“A greater focus on resourcing this process and providing timely input from both the administrator's perspective and from the Treasury will produce more effective tax laws the first time around - with fewer surprises and lower compliance costs for taxpayers and the Government alike,” concluded Mr Westaway.



  • Robert Jeremenko, Senior Tax Counsel, The Tax Institute, 0468 987 300