On 4 July 2011, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit tabled its report on the Eighth biannual hearing with the Commissioner of Taxation, held on 4 March 2011.
In a media alert issued the same day, Committee chair, Rob Oakeshott, said that there is a need for greater parliamentary scrutiny of the ATO during the Joint Committee’s biannual hearings with the Commissioner of Taxation.
Mr Oakeshott said the Committee intends asking the Commissioner to respond to any concerns detailed by other review agencies, plus those of industry and consumer groups, at its next public hearing in September 2011.
“The Committee will be enlarging future biannual hearings to include public evidence from external scrutiny bodies such as the Ombudsman, the Australian National Audit Office and the Inspector General of Taxation as well as peak industry and consumer bodies,” Mr Oakeshott said.
He added that “integrity in tax administration is a critical foundation block of the Australian taxation system. Whilst evidence suggests in the majority of cases this is done well, the Committee is concerned about the increasing number of complaints about the ATO.”
The report has made a number of recommendations aimed at increasing parliamentary scrutiny of the ATO, which are summarised in the media alert, including that the next submission to the biannual hearing from the ATO should contain explicit consideration of, and reporting on, action taken to improve complaint handling and address the underlying causes of complaints.