The Inspector-General of Taxation Act 2003 (the Act) established an independent statutory agency to review:
- systems established by the Australian Taxation Office to administer the tax laws; and
- systems established by tax laws in relation to administrative matters;
for the purpose of reporting and making recommendations to Government on how those systems could be improved.
The Act precludes the Inspector-General of Taxation from reviewing the imposition of taxes and tax rates, and the eligibility criteria for, or levels of, any rebates or grants administered by the Commissioner of Taxation.
The Inspector-General seeks to improve the administration of the tax laws for the benefit of all taxpayers. Individuals and/or groups of taxpayers, professional associations and businesses are welcome to bring systemic administration issues to the attention of the Inspector-General. The Inspector-General will endeavour to address taxpayer concerns on defective administration while ensuring resources of the agency are directed to those areas of most benefit to taxpayers overall.
The overall aim is to identify how to reduce the administrative burden for taxpayers in meeting their tax obligations.
While a number of Commonwealth Government agencies examine systemic taxation administration matters, the Inspector-General of Taxation is the only agency with sole responsibility for such reviews. To ensure that reviews undertaken reflect areas of key concern, and to avoid duplication with other agencies, the Inspector-General developes his/her work program following consultation with:
- taxpayers and their representatives;
- Commonwealth Ombudsman;
- Commonwealth Auditor-General;
- Commissioner of Taxation; and
- The Secretary of the Commonwealth Treasury.
In conducting reviews the Inspector-General may invite submissions and/or request/require the tax officials to provide information and documentation. The Act contains specific provisions on the confidentiality of submissions made to the Inspector-General.
On completion of a review the Inspector-General reports directly to Government. All reports are subsequently made available within the timeframe outlined in the Act.