To improve the rigour and transparency of decisions to extend the statutory timeframes for review, the ATO should:
- require Senior Executive approval before the taxpayer is asked to agree to an extension to the timeframe; and
- publicly report on the cases in which extensions to the periods of review are requested and the reasons why compliance activities could not be completed within the statutory timeframes (in a manner that takes account of secrecy or privacy laws).
We agreed with recommendation 3.9(a) and agreed in principle with recommendation 3.9(b). Implementation was completed on 21 March 2014.
In respect to recommendation 3.9(a), relevant staff guidelines have been updated to state that it is appropriate to consult with a Senior Executive when deciding to seek an extension of the limited amendment period.
In respect to recommendation 3.9(b), a request to extend the limited amendment period can now be recorded within a Siebel case. This data has been in the system for over 12 months and has been reviewed and evaluated. As a result, staff instructions have been updated. This data will enable us to publicly report on the number of cases with extensions to the limited amendment period. Reasons why compliance activities could not be completed within the statutory timeframes are attached to the Siebel case.