Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 406. Updated Tuesday, 22 April 2014

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Building trust in the tax man

The Commissioner of Taxation, Chris Jordan (pictured) has outlined a plan for building

trust in the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the taxation system.

In a speech to the ATAX 11th International Tax Administration Conference, the Commissioner said tax administration was a balancing act comprising the development and maintenance of community confidence and optimising compliance and revenue collection.

Mr Jordan said he wanted the Australian tax system to be one "where people choose to comply and we make it as painless as we can".

"My fundamental belief is that in order to deliver to Government, the ATO must use its power legitimately, build trust in its judgment and demonstrate fairness and integrity," he said.

"It has to design and operate a system for the majority of taxpayers who do the right thing, rather than for the few who don't.

Commissioner's plan to reinvent Office

"In the end, I want confidence in the ATO and the tax system so that there is conscious willing participation, hopefully higher than the current 95 per cent."

The Commissioner said it was important that the ATO was able to influence law design.

"Our new Integrated Tax Design Unit will ensure requests to Treasury are prioritised and presented from a whole-of-system perspective - there is limited capacity to change law and we are looking at other ways to resolve issues," he said.

The ATO was a large Australian Public Service (APS) Agency, comprising some 15 per cent of the APS.

"When I was asked to take on the role of Commissioner, I was aware of feedback that despite best intentions, the ATO had become isolated from some of its key stakeholders and segments of the community," Mr Jordan said.

"I was asked to work on relationships with Government, other Agencies, and the business community."

Mr Jordan said reinventing the ATO was a long-term journey, "recognising that building trust in a tax administration is not a simple or quick effort, nor one that you can let up on".

To read the speech go to this PS News link.

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