The Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT), Mr Ali Noroozi, has accepted the Senate Economics References Committee’s (the Committee) request to examine how the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) addresses the risk of fraud and associated issues. The Committee’s request follows recent events including those relating to Operation Elbrus and allegations of tax fraud that may be linked to abuse of position by a public official. The IGT today announced terms of reference for this review.
“The community is genuinely concerned about allegations of tax fraud, particularly where it may be linked to ATO officers,” said Mr Noroozi. “The community expects very high standards of integrity from the ATO and its staff,” he added.
The ATO is a key institution in the Australian economy and its role includes administering tax laws affecting 13.4 million individuals and 3.1 million businesses. It is also one of the largest repositories of valuable, often sensitive, financial information.
“No organisation is immune from the risk of fraud. Robust governance frameworks, regular risk assessment and appropriate controls along with a culture that promotes ethical behaviour are necessary to address risks of fraud and abuse of power.” Mr Noroozi said.
Tax fraud may be perpetrated through various means. Fraud may also involve deception, theft, unauthorised access or disclosure and wrongful use of information. Where organised crime and Phoenix activity are involved, the costs to the community may be significant and confidence in the system may be affected.
“My review will examine the ATO’s practices, procedures and structures to prevent, detect and address fraud or potential fraud and how these are applied in practice by ATO staff. We will also identify any opportunities for improvement,” Mr Noroozi said.
The IGT is an independent scrutineer agency of government. All IGT reviews are open and transparent and reported publicly. The review is an opportunity for both the community and ATO staff to share their concerns and better understand how the ATO’s fraud control management operates with a view to identifying any improvements that may be necessary.
The IGT welcomes submissions from all interested members of the community. Submissions are strictly confidential. Your submission should also address the terms of reference available on the IGT website. Submissions are due by 28 July 2017.
28 June 2017
IGT Media contact: Ali Noroozi – (02) 8239 2111