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Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 396. Updated Tuesday, 11 February 2014

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Taxpayers bill of rights on agenda
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A taxpayers bill of rights is one of the possible subjects for the Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT) to investigate this year.
 Inspector-General of Taxation, Ali Noroozi has announced the start of public consultation for developing his new work program for 2014 and beyond.
  “My work program seeks to target areas that potentially provide the greatest improvement to tax administration for all Australians by consulting publicly and widely with taxpayers, tax professionals and their representatives,” Mr Noroozi said.
  “The public consultation commencing today is a valuable opportunity to voice your concerns with the administration of the tax system. As the ATO is a monopoly service provider to the Australian community, it is imperative that effective governance and scrutineering functions address such concerns,” he said.
 As part of the consultation process, members of the public can make submission on any systemic issues that you have observed from interactions with the ATO.
 One can also comment on potential review topics which have either been raised by stakeholders over the previous year or have emerged from the conduct of previous IGT reviews.
 These potential review topics include whether a taxpayer bill of rights with enforceable remedies for inappropriate ATO conduct is needed or whether the current Taxpayers’ charter and compensation schemes provide sufficient taxpayer protection.

Tax watchdog starts consultations
 The IGT is also seeking feedback on whether the ATO’s approach to debt collection is appropriate, including whether it sufficiently considers taxpayers’ and third party creditors’ viability, both in terms of disputed debt and collectable debt.
 It is interested in whether the ATO’s support for tax practitioners is adequate, including its approach to differentiated lodgement programs, electronic lodgement, payment and advice systems access.
 The ATO’s approach to test case litigation is also on the agenda including whether funding arrangements allow taxpayers to conduct their case appropriately, including appeals on adverse decisions to a higher court.
 The IGT is also keen to hear from the public on whether the ATO’s application of the general anti-avoidance rules (GAAR) is appropriate, including the management of relevant evidence, case selection, cost-benefit analysis, reputational impacts, internal decision making and also the level of the GAAR Panel’s independence.
 Other areas of interest are whether the ATO’s administration of the product ruling system is appropriately managed and accessible to taxpayers; the ATO’s audits of employer obligations, such as fringe benefits tax and PAYG withholding, supports and delivers appropriate, accurate, timely, consistent and transparent decisions; the ATO’s approach to information security sufficiently ensures data integrity and safeguards against cyber attacks and identity fraud; the ATO’s audits of not-for-profit organisations adequately considers their arrangements, exemption status and tax deductibility for donations received; and the ATO’s corporate quality assurance process (Integrated Quality Framework) is effective in identifying improvement opportunities and management’s effectiveness in delivering required change.
 “I encourage taxpayers, tax professionals and their representative bodies to comment on the suitability of the above topics as well as raising any other topics arising from their interaction with the ATO,” Mr Noroozi said.
 Submissions close 21 March 2014. Submissions may be sent via email to submissions@igt.gov.au.
 For further information on the IGT’s office including reviews please refer to the website at www.igt.gov.au.   

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