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20 Apr 11 Preamble - Thursday 21 April 2011

The Tax Institute has listened to the concerns of a significant number of members based on their first hand experience that ATO auditors are not following their own rules of engagement.

This is an issue that really does affect advisers and taxpayers themselves. In cases brought to our attention there seems to be a presumption of guilt by the ATO. How does this give taxpayers certainty in relation to their tax affairs? We hope these complaints are not evidence of a pattern of this sort of approach.

On behalf of members we have escalated this issue to the ATO executive.  The more detail of specific instances of concern that we are able to provide to the ATO, the more likely any rogue behaviour will be stamped out.  Please continue to be in touch with us at Tax Policy with your concerns and details of the particular instances.

There is no doubt that the vast majority of taxpayers who do the right thing welcome the ATO conducting audits to ensure that in a self-assessment system, compliance checks exist.  Being subject to an audit does not mean that a taxpayer is anything other than innocent.  The audit process must follow appropriate rules of engagement.  Tax Professionals are happy to engage under fair rules of engagement that are open and transparent and cognisant of business stresses and demands.

The Australian Financial Review reported on member concerns in Tuesday’s paper this week.  Please refer to the front page story for further detail, and also see below in our ‘In the media’ section for a summary of our comments to the paper.

Please see below for details of other activities this week.

Kind regards
Robert Jeremenko FTIA


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