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13 Feb 15 On the ATO's external compliance assurance process (ECAP)

MEMBER 14 writes:

 

"When I first heard of ECAP I thought it would never get legs. However, I read with astonishment that the ATO and the Big 4 are already clapping themselves on the back about the progress towards implementation.

Is everyone in the tax profession asleep? Even to the lay person the potential conflict of interest is breathtaking. It is worse than letting Financial Planners self-regulate and that worked sooo well. Has everyone forgotten about the concept of audit shopping?

It seems the ATO wishes to move work off its own desk. I’m sorry, but it is human nature that when large sums of money are involved, ethics and professional standards take second place. I have seen this many times in my 20+ years of practice in small, medium and large firms.

How on earth can anyone expect the average taxpayer to have faith in the fairness of the tax system (especially with projects like BEPS) when they put the foxes in charge of the hen house?

I believe we as leaders in the tax profession need to have an open and frank discussion about the shortcomings (whether real or perceived) of such a program and perhaps TAXVINE is the place to start."

TAX COUNSEL THILINI WICKRAMASURIYA COMMENTS: The Tax Institute supported a pilot of ECAP and we are waiting to see the results of the pilot from the ATO.