As we approach Tax Time 2021, the office of the Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman (IGTO) is busily preparing to support and assist taxpayers and tax practitioners during this period. Reflecting on the past 12 months, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt and there are still many individuals and small businesses needing assistance.
The IGTO is proud that its Jobkeeper and Cash Flow Boost report has resulted in reconsideration of eligibility for many who were previously found to be ineligible and the assistance it has provided to tax, accounting and other professional bodies to reengage and assist their members with similar issues.
Throughout much of 2020, the office operated remotely but that did not diminish its productivity. Some of the IGTO’s key achievements and deliverables include:
- a significant report on how the ATO deals with deceased estates. The office is also on track to publish its investigation into undisputed tax debts by 30 June 2021.
- continuing engagement with Parliament through its committees, by providing written submissions on a range of inquiries and attending public hearings – sometimes virtually.
- engagement with fellow federal agencies and departments – such as the Australian Commission on Law Enforcement Integrity, the Attorney-General’s Department, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, the Australian National Audit Office, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.
- fostering international networks through participation in meetings, assemblies and conferences of the International Ombudsman Institute (both International and the Australasia and Pacific Region) and work as joint national reporter for the Observatory on the Protection of Taxpayer Rights’ annual general report.
In the midst of all of this, the IGTO also continued to maintain its complaints handling service to assist taxpayers and tax practitioners who approach our office and it will continue to prioritise time-sensitive and COVID-related complaints.
Source: Inspector-General and Taxation Ombudsman, Australia