The Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT), Mr Ali Noroozi, today announced terms of reference for his review into the Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund verification process.
“GST is fundamental to the Australian economy and business plays a critical role in collecting it. Cash flow is king for business and prompt GST refunds may be critical to their survival,” Mr Noroozi said.
The law requires the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to give notice to businesses promptly if a GST refund is to be held up for verification which the ATO is permitted to do provided it has reasonable grounds. Such a verification process is aimed at ensuring that incorrect or fraudulent refunds are not paid.
“Currently, most businesses receive GST refunds on a timely basis after lodging a Business Activity Statement, however, taxpayers have raised concerns, through the complaints handling service of my office as well as in submissions to my current work program, that the GST refund verification process, when triggered, causes undue delays and personal and financial distress,” said Mr Noroozi.
The community appreciates the need for checking the integrity of refund claims but there are concerns about the underlying risk identification mechanisms as well as the length of time taken to address identified risks and to pay the refunds.
Mr Noroozi added, “In conducting this review, my aim is to address stakeholder concerns and improve their experience in a way that balances the need for the ATO to manage GST refund integrity and businesses’ need for prompt access to their cash flows.”
Submissions are strictly confidential and not made available to any other party. Your submission should also address the terms of reference and submission guidelines available on the IGT website. Submissions are due by 17 May 2017.
5 April 2017
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