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The ATO’s director penalty notice powers


The ATO’s enhanced debt collection powers against directors and other third parties seem to be continually expanding, but the fundamental touchpoint remains the director penalty notification mechanism, which has developed a very substantial body of law. Government announcements that want to press errant directors to pay a widening field of withheld amounts seem to be happening on a regular basis. When coupled with the parliamentary inertia that happens with minority governments, the passing of such proposed legislation with amendments is both intermittent and usually unannounced. This process seems to lead to a state of confusion and an inability to properly interpret the DPN rules. In this article, the authors review the DPN rules and consider imminent legislative changes. They also look at how individuals other than directors might become liable under the DPN rules, and the ATO’s take on the liability that applies to new directors.

Author profiles

Arthur Athanasiou CTA-Life
Photo of author, Arthur ATHANASIOU Arthur Athanasiou CTA (Life) practises mainly in the area of taxation advisory, with an emphasis on dispute resolution, particularly in the SME sector, with both the ATO and the SRO. Arthur has many years experience in complex tax litigation and tax audit negotiations and settlements. He also has broad experience in the taxation of trusts and SME entities, with an emphasis on Div 7A and high wealth individuals and family groups. Arthur has qualified as a Chartered Accountant and also held senior taxation and management positions in the transport and motor vehicle industries. Arthur is a former President of The Tax Institute, has chaired the Law Institute’s Tax Law Advisory Committee for a decade and now serves on the Industry Advisory Board of the IPA-Deakin University SME Research Centre. Arthur is an Accredited Tax Law Specialist and a widely published writer on taxation issues. He regularly appears in the mainstream media and presents at tax seminars and discussion groups. - Current at 21 September 2018
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Mark Gioskos FTI
Mark is a Senior Associate at Thomson Geer and specialises in giving advice in complex tax litigation and tax audit matters. He has extensive experience in negotiating and settling tax-related disputes, with an emphasis on achieving efficient and commercial outcomes for his clients. Mark also regularly advises clients on various compliance issues under both Federal and State based revenue laws, as well as corporate and governance issues, succession planning and estate administration, and other regulatory matters. Mark is a Fellow member of The Tax Institute, and lectures on various tax law topics as a Facilitator for The Tax Institute's Chartered Tax Adviser Program. He has also been a member of The Tax Institute's Professional Development Committee in Victoria since February 2015. Mark has written a number of articles published in professional journals, and is a regular presenter at seminars and discussion groups. - Current at 05 March 2021
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