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On 5 October 2011, the Assistant Treasurer, Bill Shorten, addressed the Tax Forum. Mr Shorten said, of the proposed ATO advisory board, as follows:

"It is this Government's belief that a tax system advisory board can add value to the administration of the tax system and enhance the reputation of the ATO as a world leading administration.

An advisory board with an independent chair would best fit the statutory governance framework applying to the Commissioner of Taxation and adds value to the administration of the tax system.

The Government should appoint members to the board and it should be constituted by members with a range of different and diverse organisational skills.

The structural effectiveness of the advisory board will of course depend on its relationship with the Commissioner and the ATO.

The board could operate as a small set of trusted external advisers with whom the Commissioner could freely discuss a range of organisational issues and who could offer the Commissioner the benefit of their diverse experiences.

Its advisory role would be independent and have a clear statement of responsibilities and accountabilities. Board members should be truly independent of the ATO and would need to manage conflicts of interest and fulfil their role in the national interest – as opposed to pursuing any partisan or vested concerns.

But it is also an opportunity to bring a level of commercial counsel to the ATO in managing its external relationships with taxpayers. 

And an additional voice for the business and taxpayer communities in relation to ATO culture."

For a copy of Mr Shorten's address, go here


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