In media release No 2013/011, issued 13 February 2013, the Assistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation, David Bradbury, announced the release of the Inspector-General of Taxation's (IGOT's) Review into improving the self assessment system.
The IGOT made 33 recommendations directed at improving taxpayer certainty, reducing compliance costs and rebalancing taxpayer protections. Almost half of these are directed to the Government whilst the remainder are directed to the ATO. The ATO agreed with 15 recommendations (in full, in part or in principle) and disagreed with one. The Government agrees with 11 recommendations (in full or in principle), disagrees with one and notes the others pending further consideration.
The areas identified by the IGOT as areas most in need of attention included:
- the advice framework;
- the ATO’s compliance approach regarding recent administrative requirements;
- the penalty and interest regimes; and
- tax law complexity and the ability to administer the law in a pragmatic manner.
The IGOT is also of the view that there is merit in considering whether the Commissioner’s administrative discretion should be improved to facilitate relief to taxpayers facing unintended, anomalous, inequitable or impractical outcomes. Accordingly, The IGOT has recommended that the Government consider providing the Commissioner with the power to not take compliance action in such circumstances for a period of three years whilst the Government takes any corrective action.