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Telephone: (02) 8239 2111
Facsimile: (02) 8239 2100
Level 6, 321 Kent Street
Sydney NSW 2000
GPO Box 551
Sydney NSW 2001
16 March 2018
The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP
Minister for Revenue and Financial Services
Canberra ACT 2600
Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT) Review into Goods and Services Tax Refunds
I am pleased to present you with my report of the above review which has examined the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) approach to verifying GST refund claims before issuing them.
This review arose out of concerns raised by both individuals and businesses through the IGT complaints handling service as well as by stakeholders in the development of my current work program. These concerns largely centred on undue delay and insufficient engagement between the ATO and taxpayers during the verification process.
Overall, the ATO’s approach to GST refund verification is operating well with the vast majority of refunds being released without the need for verification and, of those that are stopped, over 50 per cent are processed and released within 14 days.
I have identified some opportunities for improvement in relation to the strike rates achieved by the ATO’s automated risk assessment tools, communication between the ATO and taxpayers and their representatives as well as promoting greater awareness of options when taxpayers are experiencing financial hardship. I have made 5 recommendations (comprising 16 parts) to the ATO with all of which it has either agreed in full or in part (11 out of 16 parts).
The review also examined the ATO’s current approach to using refund retention as part of a broader project to address fraud within the precious metals industry and the difficulties associated with that approach. I have made one recommendation for the Government’s consideration regarding possible amendments to the legislation to better empower the ATO to address serious risks of fraud.
I offer my thanks to the government agencies, professional bodies, tax practitioners and taxpayers who have contributed and provided their support to this review.
Inspector-General of Taxation
© Commonwealth of Australia 2018
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