The ATO should re-instate TaxPack to its former scope and declare as public rulings the entire contents of TaxPack, e-tax and web-based individual income tax return lodgement systems.
We disagreed with this recommendation.
We believe that within the context of the self-assessment system the current advice and guidance framework strikes the right balance between appropriate levels of guidance for all taxpayers and appropriately graduated levels of protection.
We are concerned that shifting tools and calculators to higher categories of protection would require introducing more detailed and legalistic content. Our feedback is that taxpayers that use these products prefer more straightforward guidance on what they need to do in their circumstances rather than more detailed legal explanations required for higher protection levels such as in rulings.
We disagree that TaxPack should be reinstated and given public ruling status. Since e-tax was launched in 1999 lodgment of paper individual tax returns has declined steadily and now represents only 6.5 per cent of all individual tax returns lodged. Due to falling demand, TaxPack was replaced this year with Individual Tax Return Instructions 2012, following extensive consultation with the community. Feedback to date indicates that this change has been well received.
We will review these arrangements at the end of the lodgment season, however, we believe it is unlikely to reveal community demand for the reinstatement of TaxPack.