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Taxation Institute Warns Against Naming and Shaming – Risks Abuse

Publication date: 07 Oct 08 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE

Australia’s premier professional tax body, the Taxation Institute of Australia, today urged the Federal Government not to return to the bad old days when taxpayers penalised under the tax law were publicly labeled a tax cheat.

The Taxation Institute said that currently tax cheats were named and shamed when prosecuted through the courts and found guilty.

“To extend the process to an alleged disagreement with the Tax Office would be far too subjective,” Taxation Institute President, Sue Williamson, said

“There are crucial questions unresolved such as what constitutes a tax cheat and when they are deemed to be a cheat for the naming and shaming to occur.
“The question of when an individual or company could be named is therefore open to abuse. It didn’t work then and will not work now.

“There is too great a risk that such legislation would capture and name the wrong people.

“Up until 1984, a pensioner working for the CWA who omitted or forgot to report interest on some savings would find herself on a public list two years after the error and many years of community service and reputation was destroyed. 

“Tax law is complex enough as it is without adding legislation that would make it more complex and costly to individuals and companies, and quite possibly to government in the event their cases are thrown out.

“The Taxation Institute does not condone tax cheating in any form. The law should be allowed to take its full course and those found guilty dealt with appropriately.”

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Media Contacts: Sue Williamson, President - Taxation Institute of Australia on 0411 646 783.

John Hanrahan, Lighthouse Communications Group on 0411 212 965