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Showing posts from September, 2011

Refund integrity checks - should you be concerned?

The ATO’s “refund integrity check” program has been generating a lot of concern amongst our membership. It has been the top item on TaxVine member feedback for a number of weeks, with many members querying why their clients have been caught up in the checks and the associated delays.

The Commissioner has stated that the integrity checks have identified over 64,000 potential cases of fraud or overstated refunds. The dollars involved are significant – some $269 million thus far. The ATO states that last year’s program was highly successful, with over 70% of refunds stopped for checking resulting in an adjustment to the amount of the refund. It is understandable that the ATO is trying to stop this kind of tax leakage.

The issue for tax agents is that some of their clients who have lodged legitimate refund claims may be unwittingly caught up in the delays. It is realistic to expect that the ATO’s computer system will sometimes take cases offline for investigation that turn out to be perf…

State Taxes in the cross hairs

The countdown is on to the Government's tax forum in October. I will be representing members at the forum and will be contributing strongly to the debate on the priority areas for reform.

There are 125 taxes across all levels of government in Australia, yet just 10 of them collect 90 per cent of all revenue. The other 115 'rats and mice taxes' potentially stand in the way of a simpler tax system.

The tax system should not be getting in the way of people getting on with their lives and getting on with their businesses; efficiency, equity and simplicity are the goals.

Reform of some of the least efficient and worst designed taxes in Australia - State taxes - particularly stamp duty on property conveyances, is a priority area for reform. Why is there a disincentive for people to move homes in order to move closer to locations that give them better work prospects? Huge sums of money being payable as stamp duty on property purchases act as a brake on labour mobility. Insurance du…

The Great Tax Debate

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This week saw The Tax Institute in conjunction with the Australian Tax Research Foundation host ‘The Great Tax Debate: Constructing Tomorrow’s Tax System’.

The event provided a necessary platform for tax reform discussion ahead of the Government's tax forum in October. We were very pleased with the solid turnout of interested members and non-members, who heard and questioned key thought leaders in our political, business, academic and social welfare sectors. Our facilitator for the day was Ali Moore, from ABC's Lateline. The entire event was also continuously web streamed and watched by over 350 people. The footage from this event will be available to watch on our website very soon.

Independent MP, Rob Oakeshott, joined Opposition Assistant Treasurer, Senator Mathias Cormann, to discuss the politics of tax reform and the Government's tax forum in October. Professor Greg Smith spoke about some key areas of possible tax reform and the need for a national conversation on ref…