A report to the Assistant Treasurer
Telephone: (02) 8239 2111
Facsimile: (02) 8239 2100
Level 19, 50 Bridge Street
Sydney NSW 2000
GPO Box 551
Sydney NSW 2001
16 December 2011
Senator the Hon Mark Arbib
Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Sport
Canberra ACT 2600
Review into the Australian Taxation Office's (ATO) compliance approaches to small and medium enterprises with annual turnovers between $100 million and $250 million (larger SMEs) and high wealth individuals (HWIs)
I am pleased to present you with my report on the above review. The review was conducted in response to concerns raised by taxpayers, tax practitioners and their representative bodies following the ATO's increased compliance focus on larger SMEs and HWIs pursuant to its commitment to Government.
Taxpayers' concerns related to unfair treatment and unnecessary compliance costs stemming from the wide scope of ATO information gathering requests, delays as well as a lack of commercial awareness, technical knowledge and conduct of ATO staff. The underlying issue seemed to be a lack of ATO staff capability servicing this market segment.
The ATO has acknowledged the need for improvements to deal with these concerns and since the commencement of the review, it has worked with my office to fashion a significant program of work.
I have made 41 recommendations some of which reinforce the work that the ATO has already begun whilst others are more distinct but complimentary to that work. The ATO has agreed in full with 38 of my recommendations, two in part and disagreed with one.
The implementation of these recommendations together with the program of work already commenced by the ATO should result in significant improvements in this area of tax administration. However, these improvements may not become apparent immediately as staff capability, for example, may take some time to develop.
I offer my thanks for the support and contribution of taxpayers, tax practitioners and their representative bodies to this review. The willingness of many to provide their time in preparing submissions and discussing issues with myself and my staff is greatly appreciated. I also thank the relevant ATO officers for their professional cooperation and assistance in this review.
Inspector-General of Taxation
© Commonwealth of Australia 2011
ISBN 978 0 642 74779 2
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