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How the ATO will fine you for relying on its own advice

Published on 18 Jun 01 by THE TAX INSTITUTE

The Taxation Institute of Australia called upon the ATO to take appropriate action after a significant number of urgent appeals for solution to widely known problems with the Running Balance Account system. The response from the ATO was to release a policy document under the innocuous-sounding title 'Issues arising from the overlap of PAYG annual instalments and lodgement of income tax returns.'

Hidden behind a substantial amount of technical jargon that even tax advisors found hard to understand is an admission from the ATO that they are currently sending thousands of small taxpayers letters that are correct, but if the taxpayers rely on them, the ATO will fine them. And this admission is made under a heading entitled: 'ATO Policy'.

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Dr Alice McCleary CTA-Life
Photo of author, Alice MCCLEARY Alice McCleary, FTIA (Life), is a Director of several listed and unlisted companies, Ms McCleary is a chartered accountant with wide experience in leadership, corporate governance, professional practice, and policy development. Ms McCleary has been a corporate tax partner in Coopers & Lybrand, was intimately involved with the Ralph Review of Business Taxation in the late 1990s, and in 2001 was President of The Tax Institute - the first woman to hold that position in the Institute’s history. In recent years, Ms McCleary has played a pivotal role in floating four companies on the Australian Stock Exchange • three successful minerals exploration companies, as well as the first Chinese manufacturer to list in Australia. She also represents Australia on the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants, which sets the ethical standards for the world’s two and a half million accountants. In 2003 she was awarded a Centenary Medal for services to higher education and the community. - Current at 17 October 2017
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