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Material mistakes, material consequences for taxpayers

Publication date: 10 Apr 18 | Source: THE TAX INSTITUTE


In response to the Four Corners program aired on the ABC on Monday night, The Tax Institute’s Senior Tax Counsel, Professor Bob Deutsch CTA says, “Mistakes made involving the ATO can have serious impacts on taxpayers. The examples shown in the Four Corners program last night undoubtedly demonstrate that when material mistakes occur, they have material consequences for taxpayers.

“The playing field is not level when you take into account the powers and resources the ATO has at its disposal. The ATO does offer some processes, such as facilitation, to try to resolve disputes it may have with small business taxpayers.

“However, these taxpayers may struggle to correct ATO mistakes using the available processes in a cost-effective and timely manner. For these taxpayers, there seems to be nowhere for them to go. This can cause very serious impacts for taxpayers, as was demonstrated in the Four Corners program”, said Professor Deutsch.

“Consideration should be given to the possibility of having ATO decisions being referred to an independent body or a separate unit within the ATO for further examination in cases where there are allegations of ATO mistakes and there is financial urgency due to actions taken by the ATO. Though costly to implement and maintain, this may present a more accessible option for smaller taxpayers to challenge aspects of ATO behaviour involving allegations of mistakes.

“We would encourage taxpayers to utilise the services of a tax professional who could assist them in the event their dealings with the ATO become adversarial.”



For more information, please contact: Sharon Lenton, Media Relations Contact: 02 8223 0011

The Tax Institute is the leading forum for the tax community in Australia. Our reach includes membership of 12,000 tax professionals from commerce and industry, academia, government and public practice and 40,000 Australian business leaders, government employees and students.  We are committed to representing our members, shaping the future of the tax profession and continuous improvement of the tax system for the benefit of all, through the advancement of knowledge, member support and advocacy.