There are worrying reports in today's Canberra Times that compliance functions at the Tax Office will be severely affected by the loss of 3,000 staff. Here's my comments in response:
TAX OFFICE STAFF BLOW THE WHISTLE ON HIT TO REVENUE
There is fresh evidence that the Abbott Government’s cuts to the Australian Tax Office will cost the Budget far more than they will save, with outgoing tax staff admitting that revenue collection risks being ‘gutted’ by a loss of skilled, specialist staff.
Two former tax office compliance managers have spoken out anonymously against the cuts to Fairfax Media, indicating senior staff with decades of experience and specialist tax knowledge are being pushed out the door.
The junior staff left behind are reportedly ‘outgunned’ by the corporations and wealthy individuals they are meant to audit. The former managers suggest there will be ‘anarchy’ once they realise the agency is no longer capable of chasing tax dodgers.
The whistleblowers’ reports come on top of evidence from senior Tax officials that the agency will lose up to $6 in revenue for every $1 less spent on staff. With projected ‘savings’ from the staff cuts totalling $189 million, the Government may actually be foregoing up to $1 billion in uncollected revenue.
In the face of mounting evidence that the staff cuts at Tax will ultimately result in a massive hit to federal revenue, it is simply not tenable for the Government to continue claiming the agency can manage without 3,000 of its most experienced staff.
The Government needs to come clean on how much its short-sighted cuts will really cost when the full price of lost tax revenue is taken into account.
Wednesday, 16 July 2014
MEDIA CONTACT – Jennifer Rayner 0428 214 856