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Impeaching the Tax Commissioner (and other corruption)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Australians may not know all that much about the Tea Party in the USA. It’s effectively a party within the Republican Party defined as ‘hard right.’ Well, it is campaigning to have the US Tax (IRS) Commissioner impeached by Congress. In 2013, the IRS admitted that it had been targeting for scrutiny Tea Party groups in the 2012 election. Thousands of Tea Party members were targeted with ‘audits, threats and onerous interrogations’ because of their political affiliation.

Corruption or not by the IRS, it does demonstrate the extraordinary power of the instruments of the state. We don’t have a ‘corruption’ problem with the Australian Taxation Office but we did reiterate to Prime Minister Turnbull early this month that the treatment of self-employed people by the ATO is holding back entrepreneurship and innovation. The PM has referred our letter to the Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer and we will be talking with her.

At the same time the ATO is reviewing its approach to the Personal Services Income tax laws and their new Alternative Dispute Resolution processes. That’s good! And we are being consulted. Also, the independent overseer of the ATO, the Inspectator General of Taxation, is undertaking a wide review into the ATO’s treatment of small business, with a strong focus on the self-employed.  We’ll be active contributors to this review.

If we can get the ATO to treat the self-employed fairly, we might see here what’s happening in the UK. There, the surge in self-employment continues to dominate the improving jobs figures. Self-employment accounts for 75 per cent of all new jobs in the UK since 2010. 

But if you want real corruption, look at the construction union, the CFMEU. It was recently fined $151,000 for an illegal blockade.  It has been accused of putting $7 million into a secret slush fund to avoid potential court scrutiny. The evidence of union corruption grows day by day.

ICA Executive Director Ken Phillips explained in Business Spectator that union corruption is also employer corruption. A necessary, key fix is to make any payments from an employer to a union illegal. 
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