On 11 March 2010, the Inspector-General of Taxation (IGOT) issued an update to his 2009/10 Work Program, released in March 2009. The IGOT has announced that due to the Super System Review that is currentlty being conducted, the IGOT has decided not to proceed with a review into SMSFs at this time. Instead, the IGT is currently considering undertaking a review into the ATO's administration of class rulings.
The IGOT says that concerns about class rulings were raised in a number of the submissions that were made to the IGOT's current review of the ATO's administration of private rulings. However, the IGOT was not able to consider these concerns about class rulings during this other review, as class rulings are not issued as private rulings, but as public rulings.
The concerns were that:
- class rulings sometimes take too long to issue and sometimes are not issued at all;
- ATO processes for dealings with class rulings are not well known to taxpayers;
- ATO processes for class rulings can involve poorly targeted requests for information;
- there can be communication issues between the ATO and taxpayers during the class rulings process. For example, taxpayers asserted that the ATO can be reluctant to communicate early in the class ruling process that it has changed its view on the application of the law to arrangements of the kind being considered in the class ruling; and
- there can be ATO delays in establishing agreed facts or in establishing the correct view of the law that is to be applied to those facts.
The terms of reference and submission guidelines for this proposed review will be announced shortly.