On Thursday 16 October 2014, Tax Counsel Thilini Wickramasuriya FTI attended a meeting of the ATO Tax Practitioner Advisory Group to discuss the ATO’s review of public advice and guidance products and processes. Feedback provided by members at this consultation included the following:
- The search function on the ATO website was less effective than searching for ATO guidance through Google.
- The currency of the information on the ATO website was difficult to determine.
- Practitioners bypass the ATO homepage by searching for the relevant guidance through Google.
- The guidance on the ATO website does not contain links to the relevant tax law.
- It is difficult to obtain relevant consultation minutes and agendas, particularly in relation to NTLG sub-groups which no longer exist.
- The guidance on the website is sometimes unclear as to the level of protection on offer if the guidance is relied on.
- Difficult to search for older ATO guidance on the ATO legal database.
- Once the guidance is found it is very useful.
- Practitioners tend to consult their professional associations when they find an issue that they think the ATO should be providing guidance on.
- The ATO Hub and the new consultation arrangements are still relatively new to provide detailed feedback on. To date the ATO response to a lot of the items submitted to the Hub has been to clarify the issue on their website.
- Consultation on rulings should be more flexible so that it can been an iterative process in relation to more complex rulings such as those recently released on transfer pricing.
The Tax Institute will also be providing a detailed written submission to the ATO in relation to this review.
Members seeking further information in relation to the above should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org