Fair Culture At The ATO

Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has the statutory revenue authority to optimise the company tax base and make improvement recommendations. There are uncertainty elements that tax law is made in the compartmentalised way and subject to limited Parliamentary time and various political pressures in the complex dynamic environment. The quality and adequacy of the business and market research and intelligence, the operating process and ability to constantly link sectoral and individual case level analysis to discern the implications for the tax system, constituting ATO’s understanding of the operating contest and risk to the company tax system.  ATO always know the law changes and process enhancements that will lead to the biggest improvements to the company tax regime during operating at the top of the game.

The effectiveness of how ATO covers the whole patch determines the company tax system’s health which shows the material tax risks and address issues and causes. Australian economy performance, usually measured as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is the biggest driver of company tax performance.

The connection exists in the real world between the micro level of individual multinational groups and the big picture, showing the key insight of both the diagnostic of evaluation of the law and the method towards outcome improvement.  It is critical for ATO to understand competitive market system and global business in assessing the company tax regime performance.

ATO has implemented almost all of the suggestions about how to improve the handling of disputes following the aim of the ‘culture of fairness’ according to the agency’s second commissioner Andrew Mills. There are some public relations area actions in the past few years following the aim of “culture of fairness”.

ABC Four Corner program with title of “Mongrel Bunch of Bastards” portrayed the ATO as heartless and aggressive in the dealings with small business in February 2018. Andrew Mills believes the trust in the tax system fall also brings in the decrease of compliance. The quality of the daily experience of people interact with ATO determines the trust level, and the fairness perception in disputes gauge the quality in turn.

The distance between assessors and reviewers is smaller in the ATO than in any comparable jurisdictions according to the report published in 2015 by the Inspector-General of Taxation office on dispute handling. ATO prepared the paper listed the recommendations about dispute management from both the inspector-general and a parliamentary committee for the Western Tax Discussion Group in 2018. There are procedures for alternative dispute resolution such as mediation, a trial system to streamline processing, independent appeals.

ATO increases the independence level in playing down the idea that legislative intervention. Second commissioners are statutory appointments, only Parliament can remove them, and the Remuneration Tribunal sets the salary pay which is independent from ATO.

Below there are advices if ATO decisions may not right.

  1. Seek professional advice from accountants and lawyers
  2. Simply call ATO’s call centres

iii.            Sole traders and individuals can contact the tax office early for the payment plan if they can’t meet the tax obligations

  1. The process of early engagement with taxpayers making appeals to the courts and tribunals in ATO enables taxpayers to resort to the courts.

Independent Review program changes small business since 2013, which enables taxpayers to order the audit outcome review before the assessment is finalised. It holds turnover greater than AU$250 million from the selected small businesses to the extended nationally with the potential to help in challenging an adverse audit before ATO figures up the assessment and requires payment.

ATO uses settlements towards resolving taxpayer disputes under the supervision of Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) showing the improvement in taxation, superannuation and debt disputes.  According to the report of ANAO, unlike other international revenue authorities, ATO’s settlements have the highest transparency level on public reporting including annual report. Another refreshment and improvement program towards the settlement policies, guidance and processes is embarked since 2014.

Building trust is vital to ensure compliance with the tax system while ATO treats people fairly and others are required to do the right thing and contribute to the long-term health of the system. ATO is required to provide accurate and complete information or the taxpayers will think differently.

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