Supporting government priorities
We kept the government informed of issues relating to the administration of the tax and superannuation systems directly and via our relationship with Treasury.
We met with our ministers regularly throughout parliamentary sitting weeks and appeared before 18 parliamentary committees, an increase on our 13 appearances in 2011–12.
We assisted Treasury to developed tax and superannuation legislation to give effect to government policy announcements and developed administrative systems to implement those changes. We also conveyed intelligence to government through the Treasury to assist in the development of any policy or law change responses. By monitoring the tax and superannuation systems in use, we can identify where the policy intent of the law is not being realised in practice. We are building on recent improvements in the way we work with Treasury to provide clear and timely intelligence together with prioritised, solutions-based advice to assist Treasury perform its role as a policy adviser to government.
During the year, we signed a revised tax and superannuation protocol with Treasury to improve the framework for our joint working arrangements. The protocol encourages collaboration and early engagement, assurance on the quality of new tax and superannuation law, and the earliest possible identification and communication of issues.
The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit, in its Report 434, was:
… extremely pleased to see improved cooperation between the ATO and the Treasury on both revenue analysis and policy development. ATO involvement in evaluation of legislation allows for the practical implications of legislation to be considered, and should generally lead to better outcomes for Treasury, the Australian Taxation Office, and, most importantly taxpayers in general.
This year we assisted Treasury with:
- the design of over 30 new tax and superannuation bills introduced into Parliament, including legislation relating to superannuation and the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission
- preparing legislation and implementing Budget measures, including changes to the treatment of living-away-from-home allowances and benefits, the general anti-avoidance rule and company loss carry-back laws
- advice for the government's Business Tax Working Group and Board of Taxation reviews
- advice on new measures and situations where existing laws did not operate in accordance with policy intent.
Our contribution to the design and implementation of new law reforms and measures included advice on:
- the general anti-avoidance and transfer pricing provisions in response to court decisions
- other measures related to the company tax base
- major reforms related to superannuation.
We jointly managed with Treasury the Tax Issues Entry System which allows tax practitioners and the community to raise issues relating to the tax and superannuation systems. This year we received 14 submissions, and 20 issues from the current and past financial years were progressed as possible amendments to the law.