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23 Jul 10 More on the costs of "Quality Assurance"

MEMBER 216 writes:

"I looked at recouping outsourced costs some 10 years ago and found that s 82 of the Constitution may have been breached by the massive outsourcing of ATO costs. I put it to Senior Counsel and they said I was biting off more than I could chew (ie. don't hit the Government where it hurts). Anyway, have a read and form your own conclusions but to me it seems pretty clear cut that all costs of revenue administration should be borne by Consolidated Revenue. Section 82 is as follows:

'Expenditure charged thereon

The costs, charges, and expenses incident to the collection, management, and receipt of the Consolidated Revenue Fund shall form the first charge thereon; and the revenue of the Commonwealth shall in the first instance be applied to the payment of the expenditure of the Commonwealth.'

Perhaps the professional bodies could put together a class action on behalf of all members..."

And MEMBER 217 (who originally wrote on this subject as Member 200 - see 2010 TAXVINE No 27 (2 July 2010) - writes:

"Member 213 makes interesting and valid observations. Currently the tax system has been and is being destablised by idealistic policy makers who insist on matching systems to policy rather than to adopt the more logical and also more productive approach of matching policy to systems.

It is Members who are bearing the cost burdens that this inept performance creates. For example, the most recent Treasury designed stuff up involves the preparation of Payment Summaries.

While the Government could find millions of dollars to advertise Kevin's RSPT which Julia formally abandoned, it couldn't find the money to advertise and educate employers about the new employers' requirements for employee payment summaries.

The result is massive waste because very few employers have delivered complying payment summaries. There is the cost of duplication represented by the cost of correction and the cost of missed collections and the cost of future overpayment of government benefits. There is also the matter of losses borne by custodial parents for uncollected Child Support and undercollected HECS debts.

It is members of the tax profession who have borne the angst of their employer clients - at the member's cost.

The more egregious issue is that of the massive duplication and waste of resources that ill thought out legislation compels, to say nothing of the resultant risk of negligence to tax professionals.

In the last six years Wayne Swan, and before him the world's greatest Treasurer, Peter Costello have had so little control over the process, and so little heart in making the system simpler for business, that a practitioner needs to calculate income on a multiple bases for a trust (and to charge the client for doing so):

  • "trust income" - Bamford;
  • 'net income" - s 95
  • 'ordinary income derived in the ordinary course of business" - s 328-110;
  • "income" s 328-125(4) and also s 152-70,
and two recent additions:

  • "trust net income" PSLA 3362; and
  •  "ordinary income and statutory income" - s 162.
What would Sir Owen Dixon, of Sun Newspapers fame, make of such a salad tree, a fruit salad tree which produces only malformed fruit?"

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