24 Apr 1515 On ATO responses in TaxVine
MEMBER 80 writes:
“Member 46 (2015 TAXVINE No 9 (20 March 2015)) commented that an ATO reply regarding business addresses was ‘complete obfuscation’.
Member 59 (2015 TAXVINE No 11 (2 April 2015)) commented upon ATO responses being ‘public speak’.
Other accountants have described some ATO responses in TaxVine as ‘simply the usual worthless propaganda composed by spin doctors in the ATO media unit’.
I’ve been considering asking the TaxVine editors whether they might be willing to critically review the responses from ATO, and determine whether each ATO response ‘adds any value’ to the question being asked or point being made, before including for publication.
But I also realise TaxVine’s audience is mostly experienced practitioners. We’re perfectly capable of quickly detecting BS from the ATO.
So I’m inclined to thank TaxVine for continuing to publish the ATO responses, warts and all.
We’ll need to keep our BS meters switched on (perhaps with an expanded scale), so we can quickly realise whether each ATO response is merely ‘a poor excuse for a bad situation’.
Any thoughts from TaxVine editors? And thanks for your great work.”
TAX COUNSEL THILINI WICKRAMASURIYA COMMENTS: Thank you for all your feedback on the ATO responses in TaxVine. We do review the ATO responses, but usually at a fairly high level (given limited internal resources) and we rely on the ATO being fairly rigorous in their internal review of their responses. Given your recent comments, we think that more is required. We will be discussing your feedback and some suggested improvements with the ATO next week. You will then have an opportunity to let us know if you think ATO responses have improved.