On 22 November 2012 the Inspector-General of Taxation announced terms of reference for his review into the ATO’s administration of penalties, and called for stakeholder submissions: IGT media release (22 November 2012).
Concerns raised with the IGT can be summarised as follows:
- insufficient stratification within the penalty regime coupled with its purpose not being reflected in the way it is administered – for example, perceptions that penalties can be imposed at unreasonably high levels to leverage settlement negotiations
- initial penalty decisions being reduced on review, indicating potential capability gaps or a lack of due process with decision-making
- a lack of transparency in ATO penalty decisions, and
- delay in penalty decision-making and the need for better ATO engagement and communication.
The IGT review seeks to establish the underlying reasons or causes for these concerns and identify opportunities for improvement.
Submissions are due by 21 December 2012.