The outgoing Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT), Mr Ali Noroozi, has called on the Government to implement various of his outstanding recommendations, in a valedictory speech, on 4 October 2018. This was to mark his retirement.

The primary recommendation was that recommendation that the Government (and Parliament) establish an independent management board to oversee the ATO.

  • An independent board, in control of the ATO, with an independent Chair, would address his concerns that too much power is concentrated in one individual – the Commissioner of Taxation (whomever that might be, from time to time). Mr Noroozi said the board should include the Commissioner and the Second Commissioners, as well as private sector experts in information technology, communications, human resources and finance. The proposed board would report to the Government, via the Minister, and would be able to provide a frank assessment of the ATO’s performance. The non-ATO board members would not, however, have access to the information, in the ATO, protected by the ‘secrecy’ provisions. I have advocated something like this for decades and the Board of Taxation was the nearest we got to it, but it, in the end, had a different function.

In terms of the other outstanding IGT recommendations:

  • Mr Noroozi repeated his calls for the creation of a separate and dedicated appeals group within the ATO, led by a new Second Commissioner. Labor has already announced that, if elected, it would legislate to establish within the ATO a new position of Second Commissioner – Appeals to head up a new Appeals area within the ATO. Mr Noroozi said the appeals function must be truly separate, and be perceived to be so, from both the compliance and legal advisory functions to facilitate a fresh and impartial review of the taxpayer’s case.
  • Mr Noroozi also called for the IGT to be renamed the Taxation Ombudsman. As is the case with the Auditor-General, he said the agency should be moved out of the Treasury portfolio and report directly to Parliament like the Australian National Audit Office.

On 9 July 2018, the Inspector-General of Taxation (IGT), Ali Noroozi, confirmed he will not be seeking reappointment for a third term (see related Tax Technical Article). His term runs through to 6 November 2018. At the time of writing, no replacement has been announced.

[IGT website: Publications page, Valedictory Speech; LTN 192, 5/10/18; Tax Month – October 2018]

FJM 10.10.18

 

CPD questions (answers available)

  1. Was Mr Noroozi’s valedictory speech on 4 October 2018?
  2. At that time, was his successor announced?
  3. Did Mr Noroozi recommend an independent board to control the ATO, which would avoid the concentration of too much power in one persons hands, could make a frank assessment of the performance of the ATO and report to the Government, via the Minister.
  4. Did he also advocate an independent appeals area under a new Second Commissioner?
  5. Did he recommend that the IGT be renamed to the more widely known and understood term: the ‘Taxation Ombudsman’?
  6. Had Mr Noroozi served 3 terms of 5 years – a total of 15 years, in the job (hint, you’ll have to look at the related Tax Technical Article, to answer this)?

[Answers:1.yes;2.no;3.yes;4.yes;5.yes;6.no(2termsOf5years-total10years)]

 

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