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ATO: Deny. Deny. Deny.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

ATO today released a Media Statement in response to the Four Corners show ('Mongrel Bunch of Bastards') last night.

To our mind the ATO is in denial. But we will leave you to judge. Its release is below. Also, the ATO union—the ASU—has defended the ATO.

Again you judge!


Media statement 10 April 2018   

ATO Executive statement on ABC/Fairfax coverage

The ATO strongly disagrees with the allegations and views put forward by Fairfax and the ABC in recent coverage about our administration of the tax and superannuation systems.  The media have taken a handful of isolated cases, presented only one side of the story, and then extrapolated these to suggest systemic issues with our administration of the tax and super systems.  
It is our view the coverage includes unbalanced commentary and opportunistic journalism, as well as ill-informed analysis of the facts.
The truth is less sensational.
Several of the cases mentioned are more than five years old, and have already been subject to external review, including through the Inspector-General of Taxation.
The work we have done over the last five years in re-inventing the client experience and our culture means many of the allegations from these cases are not representative of today’s practices.
Where we have made mistakes we will apologise and seek to rectify the position and restore the relationship with the taxpayer.
The majority of our clients have a seamless positive engagement with us.
Of the almost 150 million interactions and transactions with have with taxpayers each year, almost all progress smoothly and well.
Less than 0.1% of all interactions result in a complaint or an objection.
There is absolutely no evidence that in roughly 5 per cent of cases the Tax Office gets it wrong. In addition, no review, scrutineer or credible source has ever found a pattern of abuse towards small business owners by the ATO.
We know the overwhelming majority of small businesses want to do the right thing and we are proud of the work we have done to improve the experience of small businesses, and the transformation of our culture to focus on client service and early intervention. In addition, our capability, resources and laws equip us to effectively administer the tax and super systems.
The feedback we consistently receive from credible sources – like small businesses themselves and their key industry associations – is positive about how we listen and respond to their needs. We are concerned this coverage serves only to create tension and worry for small businesses where it did not previously exist, and perhaps even stop people from coming to us to get things sorted. That’s the worst outcome for everyone.

Anonymous commented on 23-Apr-2018 09:14 PM
Most ATO personnel have no idea about the criminality being perpetrated by a small percentage of their number, and will be horrified when they find out. I was a police officer with the AFP for 30 years, and worked with many of their honest operatives when seizing many millions for the public purse from criminals and gangsters. Consequently, post retirement, I was very surprised when the ATO tried to scam me for about 200g including penalties, though we did settle and they paid me about 30g.

My experience was nothing compared to what I later learned that they have done to many taxpayers, when re-arranging their affairs to create fictitious tax liabilities so as to meet revenue targets. The state cannot sanction stealing from law abiding tax payers. There will need to be a Royal Commission of enquiry, and inevitably a number of ATO rogue operatives will be sent to prison for stealing and fraud. We were happy to see corrupt police sent to prison, and ATO personnel should similarly welcome an enquiry into the Tax Office, and the gaoling of those operatives who have disgraced them.
Anonymous commented on 26-Mar-2019 04:04 PM
"Less than 0.1% of all interactions result in a complaint or an objection." Hmm, there are about 25m people in Australia lodging personal tax returns every year, plus small & large businesses. 0.1% of that is 25,000 complaints EVERY YEAR - and they think that's a good number? "Where we have made mistakes we will apologise and seek to rectify the position" After you have destroyed someones business, sold their home, ruined their marriage and yes, in many cases, driven someone to suicide, it's a little late to say sorry and kiss it better. I can accept that mistakes will be made (despite allegations to the contrary, ATO officers are human). But when someone says "Hey, that's not right and this is why" you have an obligation to investigate PROPERLY and not just steal the funds out of their bank account for an alleged debt.

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