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
18 September 2013
Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO
Canberra ACT 2600
Review into the Australian Taxation Office's Compliance Approach to Individual Taxpayers — Income Tax Refund Integrity Program
I am pleased to present you with my report of the above review which is one of three concurrent reviews examining aspects of the ATO's compliance approach to individual taxpayers.
This review arose out of taxpayer and tax agent concerns regarding extended ATO delays in processing income tax returns held for review under the ITRIP. The ATO has acknowledged that difficulties were experienced in the 2011-12 year but it has since embarked on a significant program of work to improve the ITRIP.
Stakeholder submissions to my review have confirmed the improved experience in 2012-13. However, these submissions also raised a number of concerns, which stakeholders believe have not yet been addressed, including the need for clearer reasons why returns are held and the possibility of early intervention to expedite processing in appropriate circumstances.
In this review, I have made a total of thirteen recommendations some of which are aimed at enhancing the ATO's communication and engagement with taxpayers and tax agents including better differentiation of potentially fraudulent taxpayers from those who may have merely overstated refund claims by mistake. The ATO has agreed in full with twelve recommendations and agreed in principle with the other. The effective implementation of these recommendations should ensure that the ITRIP is further improved for taxpayers, their advisers and the ATO.
I offer my thanks for the support and contribution of professional bodies, tax practitioners and individual taxpayers to this review. The willingness of many to provide their time, expertise and experience 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 as well as officers of other Government agencies which were consulted, such as the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
Inspector-General of Taxation
© Commonwealth of Australia 2013
Ownership of intellectual property rights in this publication
Unless otherwise noted, copyright (and any other intellectual property rights, if any) in this publication is owned by the Commonwealth of Australia (referred to below as the Commonwealth).
Creative Commons licence
With the exception of the Coat of Arms (see below), the IGT logo and ATO sourced material, this publication is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence is a standard form licence agreement that allows you to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt this publication provided that you attribute the work. A summary of the licence terms is available from Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia. The full licence terms are available from Creative Commons website.
The Commonwealth's preference is that you attribute this publication (and any material sourced from it) using the following wording:
Source: Licensed from the Australian Government Inspector-General of Taxation under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence.
The Australian Government Inspector-General of Taxation does not necessarily endorse third party content of this publication.
Use of the Coat of Arms
The terms under which the Coat of Arms can be used are set out on the It's an Honour website.