Media Release – ATO to pilot outsourcing tax oversight to big business – 16 January, 2014

Today I issued a media release urging the Government to exercise caution as the ATO advances its plans to allow large firms to use their own accountants to sign off on their tax bills.
ANDREW LEIGH MP

SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER

ACTING SHADOW FINANCE MINISTER

MEDIA RELEASE

BIG BUSINESS LOOKING AFTER THEIR OWN TAX LIKE PUTTING A FOX IN CHARGE OF THE HEN HOUSE



“The Australian Taxation Office’s plans to allow corporate auditors, paid by large companies, to conduct assurance reviews on the ATO’s behalf is concerning,” said Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Andrew Leigh.

“Putting big business in charge of their own affairs creates a conflict of interest.

“It appears the ATO is being forced down this path by the Abbott Government cutting public service jobs.

“Why should families have their tax audited by the ATO but big business are given the option of using their own accountants to sign off on their tax bills.”

“This is likely to result in less tax revenue being collected,” Dr Leigh said.

“That means Australian families will need to pay more to make up the difference.”

“The Government needs to explain why the ATO is looking to allow companies to decide how much tax they pay.

“Secrecy and backscratching are becoming hallmarks of this Government. This follows the Assistant Treasurer’s comments that the Government may not go ahead with Labor’s reform to publish the amount of tax paid by Australia’s biggest 200 public companies.

“Australians appreciate that Tax Office staff assess individual and company tax compliance with no personal or special interest in the outcome. The ATO is valued for its independence and should be properly resourced.

“In December the ATO met with major private accounting firms and law firms to develop the pilot, in a sign that it’s keen to get the scheme going as soon as possible.

“But I urge the Government to exercise caution and to weigh up the public interest,” Dr Leigh added.



THURSDAY, 16 JANUARY 2014


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