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Review into the Australian Taxation Office’s compliance approach to individual taxpayers – income tax refund integrity program

A report to the Assistant Treasurer

September 2013

Table of Contents


Telephone: (02) 8239 2111
Facsimile: (02) 8239 2100

Australian Government - Inspector-General of Taxation crest

Level 19, 50 Bridge Street
Sydney NSW 2000
GPO Box 551
Sydney NSW 2001

18 September 2013

Senator the Hon Arthur Sinodinos AO
Assistant Treasurer
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister

Review into the Australian Taxation Office’s Compliance Approach to Individual Taxpayers — Income Tax Refund Integrity Program

I am pleased to present you with my report of the above review which is one of three concurrent reviews examining aspects of the ATO’s compliance approach to individual taxpayers.

This review arose out of taxpayer and tax agent concerns regarding extended ATO delays in processing income tax returns held for review under the ITRIP. The ATO has acknowledged that difficulties were experienced in the 2011-12 year but it has since embarked on a significant program of work to improve the ITRIP.

Stakeholder submissions to my review have confirmed the improved experience in 2012-13. However, these submissions also raised a number of concerns, which stakeholders believe have not yet been addressed, including the need for clearer reasons why returns are held and the possibility of early intervention to expedite processing in appropriate circumstances.

In this review, I have made a total of thirteen recommendations some of which are aimed at enhancing the ATO’s communication and engagement with taxpayers and tax agents including better differentiation of potentially fraudulent taxpayers from those who may have merely overstated refund claims by mistake. The ATO has agreed in full with twelve recommendations and agreed in principle with the other. The effective implementation of these recommendations should ensure that the ITRIP is further improved for taxpayers, their advisers and the ATO.

I offer my thanks for the support and contribution of professional bodies, tax practitioners and individual taxpayers to this review. The willingness of many to provide their time, expertise and experience in preparing submissions and discussing issues with myself and my staff is greatly appreciated. I also thank the relevant ATO officers for their professional cooperation and assistance in this review as well as officers of other Government agencies which were consulted, such as the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Yours faithfully

SIGNED

Ali Noroozi
Inspector-General of Taxation


© Commonwealth of Australia 2013

ISBN 978-0-642-74927-7

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