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On 10 October 2014, Andrew Mills, Second Commissioner, Law Design and Practice gave an address entitled "I've looked at tax from both sides now" to The Tax Institute's second annual Victorian Tax Forum held in Melbourne.

Under the heading "What I hope to achieve in my term", Mr Mills said as follows:

"One of the biggest changes I hope to see happening at the ATO in the coming months and years is a shift in our mindset:

  • From revenue protection to facilitating compliance
  • From designing the system for the minority who don’t want do the right thing, to a design suited for the majority who do
  • From risk aversion to risk management
  • From a silo mentality to whole-of-system thinking
  • From shared accountability to individual accountability
  • From internal to external focus
  • From task to relationship
  • From a focus on process to a focus on outcomes
  • From litigator to resolver."

Mr Mills foreshadowed the release of a revised Code of Settlement. He said:

"Also as part of our ongoing streamlining of public advice and guidance, the Commissioner will shortly be releasing a refreshed Code of Settlement and supporting practical material.

The previous ATO Settlement policy documentation was 45 pages long and had a mixture of policy, instruction and guidance. The refreshed Code is just two pages and reflects the Commissioner’s keenness to have more streamlined and publicly focussed guidance, written in a clear, concise and positive way to ensure it reflects the ATO’s new approach to dispute resolution.

We will continue to engage with practitioners over the coming months to see how the new Code and approach are operating in practice, and to identify the need for further refinements or other improvement opportunities."

For a copy of Mr Mills' address, go here

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