Inspector-General of Taxation Report

ar201516-4

This year has been one of the busiest years that the office of the Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT) has experienced since its inception in 2003. It has also been the most productive. I am delighted to report that we have met the challenges of establishing and developing a 'single port of call' for addressing taxpayer complaints and conducting broader reviews into tax administration.

The work to embed the complaints handling function was a significant focus for this year. Our primary goal was to provide high quality service to taxpayers and tax practitioners. The foundation for achieving this goal is the calibre and capability of our staff. Accordingly, the progressive recruitment of tax specialist complaints service staff has been a key part of our strategy.

We have also provided a considerable range of skills training to our staff consistent with our ethos of continuous improvement. This was designed to also bolster the development and expansion of our programme of conducting broader reviews. We were able to commence the remaining two broader reviews from our existing work programme during the year.

We have also undertaken considerable project work to expand and improve our internal systems, policies and processes as well as those aspects that interface with other agencies with whom we engage regularly.

I am highly appreciative of my staff who have toiled hard to meet the challenges of this year, undertaking significant workloads and providing strong professional and consistent service to the community.

It was also pleasing that the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue (the Committee), in its Inquiry into the External Scrutiny of the Australian Taxation Office (the Inquiry), recognised the distinctive role of my office and the improvements that it has generated. I welcome the findings of the Inquiry and will discuss its observations and recommendations later in this report.

The sections that follow explore some of the areas highlighted above in more detail as well as a number of other matters.

Complaints handling service

For the 2015–16 financial year, we have received a total of 2148 complaints of which over 95 per cent have been processed and finalised within the same period. Work continues in the following year on the remainder. Of the finalised cases, almost 80 per cent were finalised within 15 business days of receipt. It is also noteworthy that almost 40 per cent of all complaints were resolved by my staff without the involvement of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).

The most common issues which were raised in complaints involve:

  • the ATO's debt collection action, for example decision making and communications regarding such matters as payment arrangements and garnishee notices (23% of all issues raised);
  • ATO delays in responding to activity statement and income tax return issues (19% of all issues raised); and
  • the ATO's audit activities, for example auditors' reasons for decisions and their engagement with taxpayers (11% of all issues raised).

I expect an increase in the number and complexity of complaints as the role of my office and satisfaction with our service becomes more widely known. More details regarding the number and types of complaints are provided in Part 2 of this report.

In the course of resolving complaints, my staff may make non-binding determinations which, although cannot compel the ATO or TPB to take any particular action, are persuasive. In the majority of cases, the relevant agencies have responded by taking action consistent with these determinations. The community feedback has also been positive.

One example was provided during a Parliamentary Committee hearing in which Mr Irons MP explained that one of his constituents had been unsuccessful in obtaining his $230,000 Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund after dealing with the ATO over a 14 month period. However, his constituent was successful in having the refund paid within 12 days of raising a complaint with my office.1

Typically, complainants express their concerns that the ATO or TPB had acted unfairly or adopted a process which although fair resulted in an unfair outcome as it failed to take into account their individual circumstances.

For example, in a complaint concerning the renegotiation of an arrangement to pay a tax debt, the taxpayer felt that the ATO did not understand that the payment arrangement, to which the ATO was prepared to agree, would adversely affect his business' credit rating. Such an adverse rating would impact his ability to earn income to pay the debt. My staff engaged with the relevant ATO officers on this issue and focused their attention on alternative options for a sustainable payment arrangement. As a result, the ATO undertook to vary the taxpayer's payment arrangement in a way that was satisfactory to both parties.

Such examples demonstrate that the IGT's complaints handling service is achieving equitable outcomes as well as promoting confidence in the administration of the tax system, especially for those who do not have the resources or knowledge to navigate the complexities of the system. Without this service, it would be very difficult for those in most need of assistance to assess the potential options for resolution or obtain independent assurance of the action taken by the agencies.

I am also pleased that complaint cases are presenting opportunities to gain 'real-time' insight into emerging issues of concern. Such work brings my office closer to our goal of moving quickly to address problems before they escalate into major causes of discontent.

For example, in a complaint concerning a tax agent's difficulties in accessing ATO communications which were sent to their clients directly via MyGov, my staff facilitated on-site discussions between the tax agent and key ATO personnel to better understand the concerns and explore potential remedial actions. As a result, the ATO agreed to implement some of the changes suggested by the tax agent which improved the reliability of the tax agent client correspondence list.

More examples of the improvements and insights resulting from complaint cases are provided in Part 2 of this report.

Features of the tax complaints handling process

The transfer of the tax complaints handling function to my office in the previous year had afforded my office, the ATO and TPB with opportunities to redesign the complaints handling process. The new process includes a number of features which improve the taxpayer experience as well as the interaction of my office with the ATO and TPB. Some of the main features of this process are as follows:

  1. Complaints may be lodged through a number of channels, including a smartform on our website, a dedicated telephone line, by mail, facsimile or through referrals from other government agencies including the ATO or the TPB themselves. On occasions, complaints may be made to parliamentarians whom we have encouraged to direct such complainants to us.
  2. Receipt of complaints is generally acknowledged within 48 hours and details of the officer managing the case, including a direct telephone number, are provided. Moreover, messages left on the IGT complaints voicemail are returned on the next business day with IGT officers assisting taxpayers to set out the details of their complaints.
  3. All complaints are captured, with any supporting documentation, and analysed for resolution. This minimises the resource impacts on the ATO whilst also reducing the need for the taxpayer to provide the same material multiple times.
  4. The complainant is provided with an option to have the matter addressed directly by the ATO or the TPB where the complainants have not availed themselves of the relevant agency's own complaints resolution processes. If this option is undertaken, the IGT refers the complaint to the ATO or TPB complaint sections in the form of a Complaint Investigation Notice (CIN) which sets out the key questions and issues needing to be addressed. These complainants are informed that if they remain unsatisfied with the ATO's or TPB's handling of their matter, they can
    re-approach the IGT.
  5. Pursuant to the amended IGT Act2, the IGT is empowered to ask taxpayers to provide their Tax File Numbers (TFNs) when lodging complaints, which was not previously available to the Commonwealth Ombudsman (Ombudsman). The ability to request and provide TFNs enhances the ability of the ATO to quickly identify taxpayers on its systems to correctly pinpoint issues and identify options to resolve the matter.
  6. The IGT formally tracks all complaints including those which are referred to the ATO. This provides independent assurance to taxpayers and tax practitioners that their matters have been registered and will be dealt with by an identifiable officer who is accountable for the management of their complaint.
  7. The IGT Complaints and Review Team are tax specialists who are able to engage meaningfully with taxpayers and ATO officers to identify the key issues for attention and highlight opportunities for resolution.
  8. 'Early Assessment Meetings' or 'EAMs' take place between IGT and the ATO or TPB. EAMs are 15-minute discussions, held within three to five business days after a CIN has been referred to the ATO or TPB, to narrow the areas of focus in the CIN, provide an opportunity for the ATO or TPB to surface additional facts or issues and agree on actions to be taken by whom and when. The aim is to ensure that only necessary inquiry and investigation is undertaken to expedite processing time and minimise related costs.
  9. Through ongoing discussions between the IGT and the ATO, common areas of complaints are identified. Examples of such areas include delays in issuing Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) or delayed refund issues. These areas of complaint are generally capable of streamlined resolution processes. Such cases are handled efficiently and effectively through
    pre-agreed processes with the IGT intervening only in exceptional cases.
  10. In more complex cases, the IGT engages directly with ATO senior management to provide 'early warning' of emerging risks and opportunities to address cases with sensitive issues through an escalation process that seeks to promptly explore options for resolution.
  11. The IGT continues to engage on a weekly basis with the ATO and monthly with the TPB on how each agency can improve their side of the process to deliver optimal outcomes to the community while minimising costs.

Feedback on the complaints handling process

The experience of taxpayers and their representatives in dealing with the complaints handling process is a critical factor not only for improving our service but also for voluntary compliance with the tax system. Taxpayers' perceptions of fairness of the tax system, including our complaints handling service, has been found to be a major factor in achieving high levels of voluntary compliance.3

We have sought feedback from complainants on our services to identify opportunities to improve their experience. I am pleased to note that the majority of the feedback provided has been positive particularly in relation to my staff's professional and empathetic engagement with complainants in what can be a distressing experience for many.

The insights gained from complainants' feedback have also highlighted areas which may provide opportunity for improvement. We have been working on these areas and will continue to do so, whilst seeking feedback on an ongoing basis to further focus and prioritise refinement of the complaints handling processes.

New staff recruitment

The transfer of the complaints handing function to the IGT has required my office to recruit more tax specialists and to train them in the skills which are required to deliver an effective and efficient service. Such recruitment has been conducted in tranches to preserve my office's professional and collegiate culture that seeks to continually improve taxpayers' experience and the administration of the tax system more generally.

I am pleased that the recruitment which has taken place so far has resulted in a strong core team. This core team is well placed to assist new staff who will be recruited in the remaining recruitment tranches to be held in the next financial year.

final-combined-igt-ar-2015-16

Parliamentary Inquiry into the external scrutiny of the ATO

The Committee announced its Inquiry into the scrutiny arrangements that apply to the ATO with particular focus on removing inefficiency and duplication, reducing cost to government and the 'earned autonomy principle'.4

To assist the Committee, I had made two submissions5 to the Inquiry and appeared in one of its hearings together with other scrutineers of the ATO.

On 5 May 2016, the Committee tabled its report on the Inquiry.6

The Committee has noted that the scrutiny arrangements applying to the ATO are similar to that of comparable jurisdictions.7 It also recognised the important role of the IGT:

The Committee would like to say up front that it believes that the office of Inspector-General should continue. This office has proven its worth through quality reviews that have improved the ATO's operations and the position of taxpayers, especially given its small size relative to the ATO. Further, it has strong support among almost all stakeholders. The Committee puts this down to the fact that the Inspector-General has built strong relationships with taxpayers and tax practitioners.8

… the complexity of the tax system, and the substantial resources and powers of the ATO, mean that a role for the Inspector-General, or at least a scrutineer that pledges to reach out to taxpayers, should continue for the foreseeable future.9

The Committee also noted:

…that the cost of external scrutiny provides a good return on investment for Australia. This return flows directly to the ATO, and indirectly to Government, the Parliament, and Australian businesses and individuals. It also flows to foreign investors through increased confidence in Australian tax system administration. Scrutiny is an investment in the tax system, not a cost.

…… the costs of scrutiny need to be kept in perspective relative to the size of the ATO and its importance to the economy [noting] that the resources available to the Inspector-General … were 'not substantial'…10

In addition, the Committee has asserted 'that the ATO has overstated the extent of duplication and that the extent of any duplication if it does occur is minimal.'11

The report made five recommendations primarily focused on improving communication and awareness, two of which were directed to the ATO and my office. Two other recommendations were addressed to the three scrutineer agencies, namely the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), the Ombudsman and the IGT.

I welcome the Committee's observations and recommendations which largely reflect my office's submissions to the Committee as well as the work that we had previously undertaken cooperatively with the ATO, the TPB and our fellow scrutineers. Work is underway to implement these recommendations.

Completed broader reviews

My office also continued the work on the four remaining reviews which were announced on my current work programme. It should be noted that for a significant part of the year my office had either only eight staff or was training new staff. As a result, focus was placed on establishing the complaints handling function. Work on the reviews also progressed albeit not at the same pace as in prior years.

As at 30 June 2016, two reviews were finalised, namely the Debt collection and Tax practitioners reviews12, which are outlined below.

A total of 27 recommendations were made in these reviews 24 of which the ATO agreed with either in whole, in part or in principle. It is interesting to note that some parts of recommendations with which the ATO disagreed were later implemented by the ATO. Examples of such implementation are provided in the Tax practitioners review section below.

Debt collection review

The Debt collection review was prompted by concerns raised by individuals, small business, tax and insolvency practitioners as well as their representative bodies. Broadly, these concerns related to the ATO's ability to recover tax debts effectively whilst ensuring that its actions were proportionate to the circumstances of the affected taxpayers.

During the review, the ATO acknowledged that its previous approach to debt collection could be improved as it involved a linear process for debt recovery which generally relied upon a series of escalated actions. Prior to the commencement of this review, the ATO had begun developing a programme of work to explore alternatives and improve its recovery action.

Given that the ATO's new programme of work would take some time to be fully implemented and bear fruit, the IGT made a number of recommendations as interim measures. One of these measures proposed a focus on the main debt holdings which are owed by individuals and micro businesses. These two taxpayer segments account for approximately 60 per cent ($12.3 billion) of total collectable tax debt. Another interim measure proposed that the ATO take more frequent and proportionate debt recovery action to minimise the necessity for taking firmer action at a later time.

The ATO's new overarching strategic focus is to design actions that reduce overall debt holdings by using taxpayer behavioural analysis to prevent debts arising and, where they do arise, taking the most effective recovery action at the most appropriate time. This was consistent with recommendations made in previous IGT reviews where the use of behavioural analysis was a common theme. The IGT continues to endorse such an approach.

The IGT also identified a need to ensure ATO officers have the appropriate level of expertise and experience to handle taxpayer cases and fulfil procedural requirements. Recommendations, seeking greater top-down supervision, were also made.

Overall, the IGT made 19 recommendations with 16 of which the ATO has agreed, agreed in principle or agreed in part. The ATO has disagreed with two recommendations and considered that one recommendation was a matter for Government. One of the disagreed recommendations required the ATO to merge its Debt Business Line into the Compliance Group although the ATO has indicated it would consider such a merger as part of its broader cultural and structural change.

Tax practitioners review

The Tax practitioners review was undertaken in response to concerns raised by tax practitioners about access and adequacy of ATO support and services and, more generally, the relationship between tax practitioners and the ATO. This relationship is critical to the self-assessment system particularly given the high degree of taxpayer reliance on tax practitioners.

A key underlying cause of the strain on the ATO-tax practitioner relationship has been the reliability and functionality of the ATO Portals — gateways through which tax practitioners can use a range of ATO services. The ATO Portals have been described as an indispensable tool of trade but, in recent years, tax practitioners believe the Portals' unreliability has resulted in productivity loss, missed deadlines, irrecoverable costs as well as damage to their relationships with clients.

The ATO has acknowledged the concerns with the ATO Portals and aims to address them in the long term by migrating to a 'more functional software platform and flexible online system.' However, such a migration causes further uneasiness for tax practitioners because of their previous experience with the ATO's deployment of new technology. In this regard, the IGT took comfort from the ATO's approach to maintaining the current ATO Portals and operating them in parallel with the new system.

The ATO has estimated the migration to occur within the next two years, during which time any work on the current ATO Portals will be limited to maintenance and stability assurance. Therefore, it is likely that some of the tax practitioner concerns and frustration may persist in the short term.

Tax practitioners had also raised concerns with the delays and quality of support provided on the ATO's website and telephone services. In this regard, the IGT recommended improved ATO telephone services by maintaining shorter wait times, having technically proficient staff to answer calls, simplifying the proof of identity processes and improving the ATO's website by taking into account tax practitioners' needs.

Specific concerns were also raised with the transparency of the ATO's new approach to the Lodgment Program. As a result, I had made recommendations to provide sufficient information to enable tax practitioners to independently verify the accuracy of the ATO's calculation of their lodgement performance.

A total of eight recommendations were made with which the ATO agreed in full or in part. However, it should be noted that aspects of recommendations with which the ATO had disagreed were later implemented.

For example, the ATO disagreed with the recommendation to delay the retirement of the electronic lodgment service (ELS) until after consultation with the tax practitioner community (recommendation 4.2(e)). However, the ATO later extended the availability of the ELS until at least March 2017 and stated that it would consult with the tax profession on transition from the ELS to Standard Business Reporting (SBR)-enabled lodgment services.13

Another example was my recommendation to the ATO to develop an interactive website assistance facility, 'web chat', to which the ATO disagreed (recommendation 4.3(b)). However, the ATO later released a web chat facility in March 201614, called 'Alex'.

Reviews in progress

At 30 June 2016, two reviews were in progress and their findings will be provided in next year's annual report. These reviews are outlined below.

Taxpayers' Charter and taxpayer protections review

This review commenced as a result of ongoing stakeholder concerns with the adequacy of the ATO's Taxpayers' Charter15 and taxpayer protections. Particular concerns were raised with respect to enforceable remedies for defective ATO administration, commitment to procedural fairness and adherence to the model litigant obligations.16

In addition to some cases which have received significant media attention17, the Ombudsman had previously noted that aggrieved taxpayers do not receive the remedy they desire18 and I have highlighted these concerns as emerging issues in previous reports.

The review is also considering international developments as well as the emergence of taxpayer rights in the context of cross-border information exchanges.

Employer obligations audit review

Stakeholders had raised concerns with the ATO's compliance activities with respect to employers' obligations, including determinations of contractor or employee status, taxpayers' access to avenues of appeal, responding to employee complaints, incorrect assessments and, more generally, the ATO's unwillingness to engage on issues. These concerns are said to result in additional and unwarranted costs for employers and uncertainty for employees.

Broader concerns were also raised with the costs that employers incur in complying with the tax and superannuation laws in their capacity as employers in addition to those costs incurred in their capacity as a taxpayer.

Accordingly, the review will examine the above concerns in the context of
pay-as-you-go withholding, fringe benefits tax, superannuation guarantee and the ATO's engagement with both employees and employers.

Government policy initiatives following IGT recommendations

The reviews and other activities of my office result in both immediate and longer-term improvements. Some of these improvements require administrative action to which the ATO generally responds within each IGT report. Other improvements may require changes to policy and the Government to make legislative changes over time.

In 2015‒16, actions relating to IGT recommendations to Government included:

  • providing a $100 tax offset19 to small businesses for purchasing SBR-enabled software — paragraph 4.86 of the Tax practitioners review identified that the intended benefits of the SBR itself may not be realised without the uptake of SBR-enabled software by tax practitioners' clients and recommendation 4.2(c) in the same review recommended incentives to tax practitioners for the uptake of SBR-enabled software; and
  • the issuance of public binding advice on recently enacted law through the 'Law Companion Guidelines' — although an ATO initiative, in recommendation 2.3 of the Self-assessment review20, I recommended to the Government to consider requiring the ATO to synchronise its public binding advice with the enactment of substantial new tax law.

Stakeholders

The Federal Parliament

As representatives of the Australian community, Members of Parliament and Senators are well placed to identify concerns affecting their constituents. Through annual public hearings or direct contact with my office, matters of concern in tax administration are raised with us and I am grateful for this assistance.

The IGT Act also provides for parliamentary bodies to make requests for reviews to be undertaken on tax administration topics.21

The activities of Parliament also assist the community to understand the operations of government agencies. As discussed above, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue's Inquiry into the external scrutiny of the ATO has provided greater community understanding of the scrutiny arrangements that apply to the ATO and their benefit.

As stated earlier, the IGT has also directly encouraged Members of Parliament and Senators to refer any complaints they receive about the ATO or the TPB to my office. The IGT has already processed a number of such complaints.

External stakeholders

I would also like to thank the many taxpayers, tax practitioners, their respective representative bodies and academics who bring matters to our attention and for their assistance in the conduct of reviews. Due to its relative size, my office is heavily reliant on the contribution of such external stakeholders to deliver improvements to tax administration.

The contribution of external stakeholders has been growing as they become better acquainted with the work of my office and further expansion in this regard is likely with the anticipated increase in the use of the complaints handling service.

I have also been asked to present and provide input into the work of our external stakeholders in the past year. For example, I provided a submission to the Federal Court of Australia regarding the implementation of its Taxation National Practice Area Practice Note and the Central Practice Note22 on the potential impacts for the conduct of tax litigation.

Public sector stakeholders

The IGT continues to engage and consult with the Commonwealth
Auditor-General (Auditor-General) and Ombudsman to foster closer collaboration in areas of mutual interest and minimise any potential duplication of efforts. The success of this collaboration is reflected in the Committee's observation, mentioned earlier, that 'the extent of any duplication if it does occur is minimal'.23

In line with the recommendations of the Committee in its Inquiry mentioned earlier, I have also committed to continue working with the Auditor-General and the Ombudsman to improve communication and cooperate on matters of relevance and mutual interest. For example, on the Ombudsman's behalf, my office hosted a briefing by the ATO on the MyGov Relationship and the Authorisation Manager facility.24

My office also shares observations with the ANAO on topics in scoping audit and review work. As an example and within the boundaries of our respective legislation, the ANAO and my office shared observations on the ATO's measurement of service commitments which relate to issues being examined in both the IGT's Taxpayers' Charter and protections review and the ANAO's potential performance audit on service commitments.25

My office continues to share observations with other scrutineers on tax administration issues of mutual interest. For example, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman and my office have shared observations on the ATO's approach to ABN applications for small business operators and the impact that cancellation of ABNs have on such businesses. These discussions help to ensure that my office is aware of whole of government initiatives when identifying improvements to the tax system.

I am grateful for the assistance that my office has received from the above agencies. I would also like to thank the Treasury, who deliver a number of services to us as well as being a partner in many aspects of our core functions, and current and former Treasurers, Assistant Treasurers and Ministers for Small Business and their respective staff.

Lastly, I thank the ATO and the TPB and their personnel for the professional assistance my office has received. It is important to appreciate that a degree of tension should exist between an administrator and the scrutineering function which, when professionally managed, is entirely appropriate to maintain the community's confidence in the scrutineer's independence.

The independence of the IGT as a consulting scrutineer is crucial but it is also important to ensure that a constructive relationship with the ATO and the TPB is maintained. In line with the recommendations resulting from the Committee's Inquiry, both the Commissioner and myself, as well as our senior executive staff, are currently working together to improve communication between our respective offices and to enhance our collaborative efforts to deliver continual improvements to the administration of the tax system.

International organisations

Tax systems do not exist in isolation and frequently interact with events and developments in other jurisdictions.

Internationally, my office has continued to engage with a number of overseas revenue agencies including New Zealand's Inland Revenue Department, the United Kingdom's Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, the USA's Internal Revenue Service and the Canada Revenue Agency. Such engagement provides useful insights into common tax administration issues for our reviews into areas such as debt collection and the Taxpayers' Charter. It can also result in the development of innovative solutions in the Australian context. I will continue to build and foster these relationships in the years to come.

My office also engages with the broader international tax administration community by presenting papers at international conferences which provide insights into tax administration in the Australian context,26 contributing to the work of international bodies, such as the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation's report27 on taxpayer rights as well as examining the research, insights and findings of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for a broader international perspective.

Future directions

New programme of review work

Development of a new programme of reviews will commence in the first half of the next financial year. Similar to previous work programmes, I will consult with the broader community to identify and prioritise the tax administration issues of most concern. The development of the work programme will also be informed by themes emerging from our complaints handling service.

As my office gains more experience with complaints handling and more definitive conclusions can be drawn in terms of emerging themes, future work programmes are likely to have increased reliance on such conclusions.

As mentioned above, another key focus for my office in the coming year will be to complete the tranches of recruitment and training of additional staff to achieve a more effective and efficient complaints handling service. As a result, the number and scope of topics for review in the next financial year will be balanced against this service commitment to taxpayers and the community more broadly.

Ali Noroozi
Inspector-General of Taxation

Role

Our role is to improve tax administration through investigation of tax complaints, conducting broader reviews, public reporting and independent advice to Government and its relevant agencies.

Our objectives are to:

  • Establish and maintain an effective and efficient complaints handling function;
  • Identify and prioritise areas of tax administration for improvement; and
  • Conduct reviews and make recommendations for improvement to Government, the ATO and the TPB.

Organisational structure

Figure 1: Organisational structure

Outcome and programme structure

Figure 2: Outcome and programme structure

 

Appendix 1 — Expenses for outcomes

Table A1: Expenses for Inspector‑General of Taxation outcomes
Outcome 1: Improved tax administration through investigation
of complaints, conducting reviews, public reporting and
independent advice to Government and its relevant entities
Budget
2015‑16
$'000
Actual
Expenses
2015‑16
$'000
Variation
2015‑16
$'000
  (a) (b) (a‑b)
Program 1.1: Inspector-General of Taxation      
Departmental expenses      
Departmental appropriations1 6,532 5,630 902
Expenses not requiring appropriation in the Budget year 29 306 (277)
Total expenses for Outcome 1 6,561 5,936 625

1. Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1)

  2014‑15 2015‑16
Average staffing level (number) 14 34

 

Appendix 2 — Agency resource statement

Table A2: Inspector-General of Taxation resource statement for 2015–16 as at Budget May 2015
  Actual
available
appropriation
2015‑16
$'000
Payments
made
2015‑16
$'000
Balance
remaining
2015‑16
$'000
  (a) (b) (a‑b)
Departmental
Ordinary annual services1
     
Departmental appropriation2 10,853 5,607 5,246
Total ordinary annual services 10,853 5,607 5,246
Other Services - departmental non-operating      
Equity injections3 1,006 427 (579)
Total other services - departmental non-operating 1,006 427 (579)
Total net resourcing and payments for the IGT 11,859 6,034 4,667

(1) Appropriation Act (No. 1) 2015-16. This may also include prior-year departmental appropriation and section 74 relevant agency receipts.
(2) Includes an amount of $0.029 million for the Departmental Capital Budget. For accounting purposes this amount has been designated as 'contributions by owners'.
(3) Appropriation Act (No. 2) 2015-16. This includes prior-year equity injection appropriation of $0.808 million (Appropriation Act No. 6 2014-15).

 

 


1 Commonwealth, Australian Taxation Office Annual Report 2015, House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue, Wednesday, 24 February 2016, p. 8 (Mr Steve Irons MP).

2 Inspector-General of Taxation Act 2003.

3 Stephan Muehlbacher, Erich Kirchler and Herbert Schwarzenberger, 'Voluntary versus enforced tax compliance: empirical evidence for the "slippery slope" framework ' (2011) 32 European Journal of Law and Economics 89–97, p 95.

4 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue, 'New inquiry into scrutiny of the Tax Office', (Media Release), 9 February 2016.

5 Available on the IGT website.

6 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue, External scrutiny of the Australian Taxation Office (April 2016) p xi.

7 ibid, p xvi.

8 ibid, p 31.

9 ibid, p 44.

10 ibid, pp 31–32.

11 ibid, p 27.

12 IGT, Debt Collection (2015); IGT, The Australian Taxation Office's services and support for tax practitioners (2015).

13 Australian Taxation Office, 'Consultation on ELS to SBR transition' (16 December 2015), - www.ato.gov.au.

14 Australian Taxation Office, 'A better online experience' (18 March 2016), - www.ato.gov.au.

15 ATO, Taxpayers' charter: What you need to know (2010).

16 Legal Services Directions 2005, app B made under s 55ZF of the Judiciary Act 1903.

17 7:30 ABC TV (9 April 2012) referred to in John Bevacqua, 'Redressing the imbalance — challenging the effectiveness of the Australian taxpayers' charter' (2013) 28 Australian Tax Forum 377, p 398; 7:30 ABC TV, 'Tax office stands accused of bullying behaviour' (1 November 2012) referred to in Greg Hoy, ''Draconian' ATO accused of bullying taxpayers' (2 November 2012) - www.abc.net.au.

18 Commonwealth Ombudsman, Taxation Ombudsman Activities 2006 (2007) p 6.

19 Assistant Treasurer, 'Streamlining business reporting with single touch payroll,' (Media Release 21 December 2015).

20 IGT, Review into improving the self-assessment system (2013).

21 Paragraph 8(3)(d) of the Inspector General of Taxation Act 2003.

22 IGT, Submission to Federal Court of Australia, Taxation NPA Practice Note and the Central Practice Note, 25 November 2015.

23 Above n 6, p 27.

24 This facility will provide electronic registration and authentication of a citizen's authorisation for a representative to deal with Federal Government agencies on their behalf.

25 ANAO, Audit Work Program – July 2015, (2015) p 135.

26 International Conference on Taxpayer Rights, The Role of Inspector-General of Taxation in Australia (2015).

27 International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation, The protection of taxpayer rights in Australia (2015).