On 25 June 2013 the Australian National Audit Office tabled an audit report entitled Management of Debt Relief Arrangements (Audit Report No.52 2012–13).
The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness of the ATO’s administration of debt relief arrangements. The audit assessed whether:
- information was readily available on debt relief options to people in serious hardship
- those cases being considered for debt relief were effectively assessed
- debt cases that were not pursued and re-raised or cancelled at a later date were being appropriately managed, and
- debt relief outcomes were accurately reported.
The ATO’s communication with taxpayers and key stakeholders was also examined.
The report found that the ATO’s management of debt relief arrangements is generally effective, given the volume of transactions and the extent of the need to have regard to taxpayers’ personal circumstances.
The ANAO has made two recommendations aimed at enhancing assurance processes for the remission of general interest charges, and improving the ATO’s ongoing administration of debt relief arrangements by assessing the extent to which debt release decisions have assisted taxpayers to meet their tax obligations in the longer term.