Australia

Mar 13, 2013

ATO promises independent appeals process — but will it be fair?

A new appeals division will provide taxpayers with an independent review of cases in dispute -- but will it override current quotas and influences? Accountants and lawyers are confident but sceptical.

Chris Seage — Tax consultant and former ATO audit manager

Chris Seage

Tax consultant and former ATO audit manager

He has only been in the job since January, but new Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan is shaking up the Australian Taxation Office and revamping how it handles disputes with taxpayers. Tax experts have applauded the move, but they remain sceptical of how truly independent the ATO will become.

Jordan, who is a former partner of accounting giant KPMG, has decided after years of political and industry pressure to create a new appeals division to provide taxpayers with an independent review of their cases in disputes to head off costly litigation for both the government and the taxpayer. At the moment, if you object to your assessment it’s likely the auditors who made the original decision in your tax bill will have too much of an influence in the determination of the objection.

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