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COMMISSIONER OF TAXATION

Mr Ali Nooroozi
Inspector-General of Taxation
GPO Box 551
Sydney NSW 2001

Dear Ali

Review into aspects of the Tax Office's settlement of active compliance activities

Thank you for your letter of 1 October 2009, submitting the final draft report of your Review into aspects of the Tax Office's settlement of active compliance activities for our comments and response.

The Tax Office welcomes the review and insights of the Inspector-General of Taxation into important areas of our tax administration, in particular, your finding that:

[t]he Tax Office has a framework of policies and processes aimed at promoting consistency and transparency of access to settlements, treating taxpayers in comparable circumstances consistently and requiring its officers to be, and seen to be, fair and equitable in their official dealings, including negotiation of settlements… [and that, at] a systemic level, the cases examined by the IGT generally evidenced compliance with these policies and processes

should provide reassurance to the community that it can have confidence in this important aspect of our tax administration.

Your review has provided is with useful insights and understanding about how our actions in relation to settlements are sometimes perceived, understood and acted upon by taxpayers. The review has also confirmed that we are on the right track in some of the improvements that we have underway or planned.

I am pleased to be able to endorse all of the agreed recommendations and our responses. I was particularly pleased to see that the report recognized our improvement efforts to date and incorporated our further planned improvements into the suite of agreed recommendations, leading to a more efficient implementation of changes that might otherwise have been the case.

Finally, comments I have received from ATO staff involved in this review indicate that the process used by both sides to achieve this final draft report was comprehensive, highly collaborative and well-considered. I understand that there were frank, robust but always constructive discussions for both sides in the course of this review. This is a good outcome and reflects a good working relationship between our two offices.

Yours sincerely

[Signed]

Michael D'Ascenzo
Commissioner of Taxation

19 October 2009