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A report to the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer

5 August 2004


Telephone: (02) 8239 2111
Facsimile: (02) 8239 2100

Australian Government - Inspector-General of Taxation crest

Level 19, 50 Bridge Street
Sydney NSW 2000
GPO Box 551
Sydney NSW 2001

5 August, 2004

The Hon Mal Brough, MP
Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister

I am pleased to present to you my report outlining my findings in respect of the Review of the Remission of the General Interest Charge for groups of taxpayers in dispute with the Tax Office. The report has been prepared under section 10 of the Inspector-General of Taxation Act 2003 (the Act).

In accordance with the requirements of section 25 of the Act, I have provided the Commissioner of Taxation with the opportunity to respond to the report's findings and his submissions on individual findings have been incorporated into the report. In finalising the report, I have fully considered all the Commissioner's comments.

I have also included as an appendix to the report the Commissioner's covering letter (dated 8 July 2004) to his response. The letter provides a fuller explanation of the Commissioner's position. I believe it is fair summary to state that the Commissioner has broadly responded positively to my findings relating to Tax Office policy and procedures.

Contrary to my findings, the Commissioner has maintained his previous stance in respect of situations involving his exercise of judgement relating to remission of General Interest Charge for specific groups of taxpayers, the subject of this review, although the Commissioner has foreshadowed a one-off remission concession. I fully endorse the Commissioner's proposal to offer a streamlined review mechanism to enable certain participants in Employee Benefit Arrangements to have their individual circumstances fully considered.

I also note that since my draft report was provided to the Commissioner for response, he has independently announced a further concession to investors in retirement villages, and a broad general interest charge remission opportunity for a large number of small business debtors not in dispute with the Tax Office.

This first review undertaken by my Office has provided many challenges due to the inherent complexity of the review topic and has provided many lessons which come from an initial process. No doubt, the lessons learnt will be carried forward to the conduct of future reviews.

I offer my thanks to the co-operative approach of Tax Office staff and the support and contribution of many professional bodies, business groups and individuals. The willingness of many to provide their time in preparing submissions and discussing issues with myself and my staff is greatly appreciated.

Yours sincerely

SIGNED

David Vos AM
Inspector-General of Taxation


© Commonwealth of Australia 2004

ISBN 0 642 74243 X

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