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Tax Office 'U-turns' report welcomed but concerns remain

Publication date: 17 Mar 10 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

The country's leading professional association in tax, the Taxation Institute of Australia, welcomes the Inspector-General of Taxation's report into the implications of delayed or changed Tax Office advice, generally referred to as the 'U-turn' report.

The Institute notes the Inspector-General's conclusion that, in certain circumstances, taxpayers' perceptions of changes in Tax Office views or practices are justified.

The report justifies the Institute's long-held concern that on numerous occasions, the Tax Office is seen to have changed its views and performed U-turns on significant issues to the detriment of taxpayers who have relied on the previously held view.

The report includes more than 60 examples provided by taxpayers where they perceive the Tax Office has performed a U-turn.

 "As the Taxation Institute has long argued, it is of the highest concern that the Tax Office is perceived to perform U-turns on important matters of tax law," Taxation Institute President, David Williams said.

"These U-turns create uncertainty and additional costs and are impediments to normal business operations and to people getting on with their lives."

"We welcome the Tax Office broadly agreeing to each of the recommendations, but call on them to implement these as a matter of urgency.

"We hope the Inspector-General's recommendations will ensure no ATO retrospective U-turns in the future."
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About the Taxation Institute of Australia: The Taxation Institute is Australia's largest and most diverse body of tax professionals working together to improve the tax system and the delivery of tax services through education, sharing of information and consultation.

Media Contacts:
Robert Jeremenko, Senior Tax Counsel - Taxation Institute of Australia on 0468 987 300
Craig Regan - Lighthouse Communications 0408 448 527