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19 Mar 10 Preamble - Friday, 19 March 2010

This week saw ongoing work on key issues, including that of financial planners and the Tax Agent Services Regime and the ATO Change program.
With respect to the Change program, members are clearly sick and tired of the delays, the excuses and the lack of any real timeline from the Tax Office to fix the problems. We are publicly calling on the Tax Office to make this a higher priority and act now to stop the unintended pain this is causing.

In other developments, on 17 March 2010 the Assistant Treasurer released the Inspector-General of Taxation’s report into the implications of delayed or changed Tax Office advice, generally referred to as the U-turn report. The Institute issued a media release on the same day ‘Tax Office “U-turns” report welcome but concerns remain’, in which we expressed the highest concern that the Tax Office is perceived to perform U-turns on important matters of tax law. This creates uncertainty and additional costs and acts as an impediment to normal business operations and to people getting on with their lives. We hope that with the Tax Office broadly agreeing to the Inspector-General’s recommendations, this will ensure no ATO retrospective U-turns in the future.

Also this week, we had confirmation from the Government that it will soon release the Henry tax review, with the Treasurer confirming this will be before the time of the Federal Budget in May 2010. The Institute issued a media release on 15 March 2010 ‘Tax Institute says Henry Report release must “stand alone”’, calling on the Government to release the Henry review and its response separately to the Budget, to properly enable a thoughtful and mature public discussion about tax reform.

Please find below details of other activities this week.

Kind regards
Robert Jeremenko FTIA

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