On 5 May 2016, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue tabled its report on the external scrutiny of the ATO in the House of Representatives.
The terms of reference asked the Committee to consider in detail the issues of duplication and overlap, cost to government, and differential regulation. After considering these issue, the Committee has agreed that no substantial changes are required in the external scrutiny of the ATO. The Committee has, however, made some administrative recommendations to make it clearer how the scrutineers coordinate their work.
Among other things, the Committee recommended that the ATO and the Inspector-General of Taxation “redouble their efforts to improve communication before, during and after reviews”.
Extract from Report – Recommendations
To increase transparency, the Committee recommends that the Auditor-General, Commonwealth Ombudsman, and Inspector-General of Taxation examine ways to increase the profile of their co-ordination activities—potentially through their websites, annual reports, and consultations undertaken for work programs.
To increase transparency, the Committee recommends that the Auditor-General, Commonwealth Ombudsman, and Inspector-General of Taxation improve the explanation in their reports of why each review was conducted and how the review fits in with past and other current reviews.
The Committee recommends that the Australian Taxation Office and the Inspector-General of Taxation redouble their efforts to improve communication before, during and after reviews.
The Inspector-General of Taxation examine opportunities to conduct targeted reviews based on complaints and emerging issues in tax administration, and work with the Australian Taxation Office to develop a mutually efficient system for such reviews.
The Committee recommends that the Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue of the next Parliament consider expanding its biannual inquiries into the Australian Taxation Office to include scrutiny of the Inspector-General of Taxation, or alternatively to conduct a separate dedicated regular inquiry into the annual report of the Inspector-General.