2. Commissioner of Taxation – Opening remarks

  • The Commissioner welcomed members and noted the success of the new LBLG co-chairing arrangements between the ATO and the Corporate Tax Association (CTA). He spoke about a number of key issues and topics which have been under development in the last several months and gave an update on their progress. These include:
  • Pre-lodgment Compliance Review process
    • Progress has been made on reinvention of the PCR process since the last LBLG meeting through a joint CTA/ATO workshop held in late May. Through this co-design a number of points of agreement have been brought out as well as some issues we will continue to explore.
    • We reaffirm our commitment to advise large business taxpayers in advance of any information requests and involve them in the development of any specific requests for information.
    • We agree that there is scope in the PCR reinvention to streamline the relationship between the PCR and the Reportable Tax Position schedule.
  • Reinventing the ATO – client experience
    • The ATO is undergoing a holistic program of transformation centred on the need to better meet client and community expectations.
    • The Commissioner has personally received feedback from senior tax representatives remarking on the significant shifts in attitudes and the positive changes experienced in dealing with the ATO.
  • Code of settlement
    • The ATO’s Code of Settlement has been refreshed with streamlined material, clear, concise and positive language to reflect our new approach to dispute resolution and to be responsive to the issues raised by stakeholders.
    • The new Code and supporting practical material is being developed with stakeholders including legal and tax professionals, and representatives from the State and Australian law and bar associations. We have also consulted directly with representatives from the top accounting and law firms.
    • We are in our final round of consultations and expect the new Code and supporting material to be released from September 2014.
  • Inspector-General of Taxation review of large business and high wealth individual tax disputes
    • The ATO has provided a public submission to the Parliamentary inquiry into tax disputes and is also working with the office of the Inspector-General of Taxation as part of its review under the auspices of the parliamentary inquiry into tax disputes involving large business and high wealth individuals. We are currently providing background and general case information to the information-gathering stage of the inquiry.
  • Review of ATO advice and guidance products
    • The ATO Executive recently commissioned a review of our current ATO advice and guidance products and processes. The objective is to provide more tailored advice, improve client experience and better support willing participation.
    • The review will look at timeliness, the quality and impartiality of public ATO advice and the effectiveness of the current consultation processes.
  • The Commissioner also updated members on the ATO’s workforce refresh in response to the Federal Budget 2014-15. The ATO is on track to find savings in our operating costs and reduce staffing levels by 3,000 through voluntary redundancy processes by October 2014.
    Last modified: 21 Nov 2014QC 43202