1.1 This report, on the Inspector-General of Taxation's (IGT) review into delayed or changed Australian Taxation Office (ATO) views on significant issues, is produced pursuant to section 10 of the Inspector-General of Taxation Act 2003 (IGT Act 2003). In accordance with section 25 of the IGT Act 2003, the Commissioner of Taxation was provided with an opportunity to give submissions on any implied or actual criticisms contained in this report.
1.2 This report documents the findings and conclusions of the review. It is divided into six chapters.
1.3 An overview of the review process and its general findings is given in Chapter 2. It directs readers to where further detail of the general findings is located in this report.
1.4 The chain of events giving rise to taxpayer perceptions of 'U-turns' is discussed in Chapter 3. The chapter also refers to the following chapters for more detailed discussion of specific systemic issues that were identified in the review.
1.5 The relevant legislative protections against retrospectively applied ATO views are discussed in Chapter 4. The chapter discusses binding advice, the scope of the general administrative practice (GAP) provisions and the Commissioner's power of general administration not to undertake compliance action for prior periods on particular issues.
1.6 The ATO administrative changes that would help to reduce the adverse effects of perceived 'U-turns' are discussed in Chapter 5. The chapter also discusses the process and criteria in determining whether the ATO should apply views retrospectively.
1.7 The ATO's engagement with the taxpayer community on technical matters, including delays in identifying significant risks to revenue and the delays in finalising ATO views, is discussed in Chapter 6. The chapter also discusses the role of technical discussion papers in some detail.