Follow up review into the Australian Taxation Office's implementation of agreed recommendations included in the six reports prepared by the Inspector-General of Taxation between June 2006 and October 2008
A Report to the Assistant Treasurer
© Commonwealth of Australia 2010
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30 June 2010
Senator the Hon Nick Sherry
CANBERRA ACT 2600
I am pleased to present to you my report in respect of the review into the ATO's implementation of agreed recommendations included in the six reports prepared by my office between June 2006 and October 2008.
The review was announced on 24 June 2009. This report has been prepared under section 10 of the Inspector‑General of Taxation Act 2003.
The ATO agreed wholly or in part to implement 41 of the 45 recommendations made in the six reports. The main focus of the review was to investigate to what extent the ATO has implemented the agreed recommendations. I am pleased to report that the ATO has implemented or made significant progress with the vast majority (38 of 41) of the agreed recommendations. Importantly, agreed recommendations are those aspects of my original recommendations that the ATO agreed to implement. Concerns remain in relation to those recommendations or aspects thereof upon which agreement was not reached and/or were not implemented. In particular, the ATO's comments regarding my recommendation to ensure that ATO guidance which is of a significant nature, and which affects a large segment of the taxpayer population, be in a binding form. I also have raised concern on this issue in the IGT's 2009 review into the ATO's administration of public binding advice.
Overall, the outcome reflects the valuable contribution of information, time and support by taxpayers and their advisers, the work of my office, and the ATO's commitment to improving tax administration.
I have provided the Commissioner of Taxation with the opportunity to respond to the report's findings. The ATO's response, which I have fully considered, is in Appendix 2 to the report.
This review has been akin to undertaking six separate reviews — albeit of a smaller scale than the original review process.
In the report I have acknowledged the assistance of ATO staff who provided assistance and cooperation in support of the review process. There were aspects of this review process that require improvement particularly with respect to timely provision of information and resolution as to whether a recommendation was implemented or otherwise. However, my office and the ATO are working cooperatively to finalise a new implementation framework designed to enhance the follow up review process and outcomes for IGT recommendations.
Inspector‑General of Taxation