Following extensive consultation with the community, the Inspector-General of Taxation, Mr Ali Noroozi, today announced his new program of reviews into tax administration.
"This consultation process surfaced a wide range of issues and concerns that the community would like me to review. I have received over 50 submissions which collectively suggested over 160 issues," Mr Noroozi said.
"Tax administration concerns have also been raised with the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Chris Bowen MP, who has directed me to review the implications of any delayed or changed ATO advice on significant issues. I am pleased to include this topic in my review program."
"Also, the Commissioner of Taxation has invited me to undertake a broad review of the private rulings system. This is the first time the Commissioner has invited an IGT review. The topic has also been raised in submissions and I have included it in my program," Mr Noroozi said.
"I want to thank everybody for their input. I can't review every issue that has come forward. However, the range and depth of this input has enabled me to form a substantial program of reviews as well as a list of additional topics which I intend to monitor and may elevate to my active work program as priorities and resources allow," he said.
New IGT reviews announced today are:
- Review into the implications of delayed or changed ATO advice on significant issues. At the direction of the Assistant Treasurer, this review will examine whether perceptions are justified that the ATO has changed its views with retrospective effect and whether the time taken by the ATO to announce its views, or the way it has applied them, have caused adverse consequences for taxpayers.
- Review of the private rulings system. Issues such as productivity, timeliness and the system's future integrity will be considered. The use of the register of edited private rulings will also be examined together with related authoritative (but non-binding) forms of ATO advice such as ATO Interpretative Decisions (ATOIDs).
- Review into the ATO's administration of the Superannuation Guarantee Charge (SGC). The review aims to identify the level of employer non-compliance and assess how the ATO is dealing with the problem.
- Review into the ATO's practices for finalising large company audits. Perceived problems with the management of large company audit cases will be explored with a focus on important milestone events and the underlying issues and behaviours.
- Review into the ATO's compliance focus on Small to Medium Enterprises (SME). This review will identify whether the ATO's risk-management analysis justifies its focus on the top end SME sector and if its approaches are reasonable, efficient and cost effective. It will also explore whether this compliance activity is causing any unreasonable impacts.
- Review into the efficiency of the ATO's compliance and regulatory approaches to Self Managed Super Funds (SMSFs). This review will explore the efficiency around reporting, lodgement and cost of compliance generally, and consider if the ATO "auditing the auditors" program is efficient and effective.
- Follow-up review into the ATO's implementation of agreed IGT recommendations. The main focus will be the ATO's progress with implementing changes agreed in the IGT's six reviews released between April 2007 and October 2008.
"The new program includes superannuation issues for the first time since my Office was established. Overall, the program aims to improve tax administration for a wide range of taxpayers. I look forward to working with the ATO to identify and deliver such improvements to as large a number of taxpayers as possible." Mr Noroozi said.
Inspector-General of Taxation
10 March 2009