Tax, the way ahead

Commissioner Jordan’s speech to the TTI 28th National Convention, Perth, 14 March 2013 foreshadowed under his leadership:

  • greater emphasis by the ATO on effectiveness (not merely efficiency);
  • earlier, more effective and more solution oriented consultation with stakeholders and consultants for tax policy and law design;
  • implementation of streamlined and independent internal review of disputes and earlier and more timely, transparent and conciliatory dispute resolution; and
  • restructuring of the private and class ruing systems processes to facilitate timely, transparent and responsive guidance but possibly with a fee-for-service arrangement if external independent advice is necessary.

This focus may be seen as responsive to aspects of stakeholder submissions and the Inspector General of Taxation reports on the:

  • Review into the ATO’s use of early and alternative dispute resolution (released 31 July 2012); and
  • Review of aspects of the ATO’s administration of private binding rulings (released 24 November 2010); and
  • Review into the ATO’s administration of class rulings (released 14 March 2012).

While laudable, implementation will be challenging in such a large organisation and improvements are likely to be incremental only.