The Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT) has issued a reminder that, from 1 May 2015, the IGT will be able to consider and assist taxpayers and tax practitioners with their complaints about the ATO and Tax Practitioners Board (TPB). The transfer of this function from the Commonwealth Ombudsman to the IGT was announced in last year’s Federal Budget and the relevant legislation was enacted earlier this year.
Since 2003, the IGT has been delivering improvements to tax administration through its investigations of systemic issues and recommendations for change. The integration of the complaint handling function with the IGT’s existing role will provide a single port of call for all taxpayers and tax practitioners for their complaints or broader concerns about the tax system as administered by the ATO or TPB. Another benefit for the tax system is that the IGT will be able to be take a more proactive role in addressing emerging issues in tax administration.
The bringing together of systemic reviews and complaint handling is consistent with the IGT’s previous recommendations to government. As an independent and dedicated scrutineer of the ATO for the past 12 years, IGT specialist tax staff are well-placed to help taxpayers and tax practitioners address their individual issues with the ATO or TPB. The IGT will consider all complaints, from the simple to the complex, including those arising during audits, objections and litigation.
Whilst the IGT cannot compel the ATO or the TPB to take a particular course of action, as that is the role of the courts and tribunals, the goal is to ensure that taxpayers and tax practitioners are treated fairly and respectfully.
The IGT has worked with the Ombudsman to ensure that the transfer of the function is smooth and services to the community are not unduly disrupted. The IGT has also been working with the ATO and the TPB, including their internal complaints handling areas, to ensure that any matters are addressed expeditiously and effectively.
Further information regarding the IGT’s new functions and how complaints may be lodged, including the use of an electronic complaints form, will be available on the IGT’s website.
THE TAXVINE EDITORS comment: An article entitled “Inspector-General of Taxation now handling your tax complaints”, by Tim Yap, CTA, Adviser, Inspector-General of Taxation, will be published in the May 2015 issue of the Tax Institute’s monthly journal Taxation in Australia.