On Monday 22.11.2021, the Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman (IGTO) has today released a brief history of the Taxpayers’ Charter.  The paper is intended to serve as a thought leadership document to encourage feedback and recommendations from stakeholders about how the Charter could be improved.

The history of the Charter highlights: 

  • the importance of the role of an independent Taxation Ombudsman, as contemplated by the (then) Joint Committee of Public Accounts; and  
  • one of the foundations for the Charter, was the 1993 draft proposal for a Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights – as proposed by the (then) Taxation Institute of Australia. 

ATO review – The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has recently advised the IGTO that it is currently undertaking a review of the Taxpayers’ Charter. According to the ATO, external consultation is due to commence in February 2022. 

The IGTO strongly encourages members of the tax profession – including accountants, BAS agents, bookkeepers, solicitors, barristers – and professional and industry organisations to engage with the ATO review of the Taxpayers’ Charter.  

Their aim is that the chronology and brief summary of events over time and the international comparisons contained in the IGTO’s ‘Brief History of the Taxpayers’ Charter’ will assist with consultation and highlight areas for improvement. The IGTO paper is provided primarily to inform community debate and discussion and to facilitate engagement between stakeholders and the ATO during their consultation on the Taxpayers’ Charter. 

This is a ‘follow on’ from the IGTO’s recently announced report on the extent to which the ATO advises taxpayers of their options if they are unhappy with the ATO’s stance (see related TT article). In short compass the ATO was quite good at advising taxpayers of their appeal rights to the AAT and Courts, but much less good at advising taxpayers that they have an internal ‘complaints’ resolution function and that they have a no-cost avenue for external dispute resolution through the IGTO (Ombudsman) itself. Further exacerbating this failure was the Taxpayer’s Charter, which said they’d be transparent in their functions (which includes dispute resolution).

IGTO media releasebrief history of the Taxpayers’ Charter, [LTN 226, 23/11/21]

[Tax Month – November 2021Previous 2021] 24.11.21


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