For over a decade we’ve been campaigning for fairness and for rule of law principles to be applied when the ATO assesses and administers alleged tax debts, particularly those of self-employed, small business people.
It transpires that the UK also has very similar problems with its tax administrator (HMRC) abusing self-employed people. We have a long-standing campaigning partnership with Contractor Calculator in the UK who, like us, campaigns for tax administration fairness. The UK problem is so severe that an all-party parliamentary group/committee has been formed to seek a solution to HMRC abuse. Some 250 UK MPs are in the group/committee.
Last month (on 21 February) we gave a joint presentation to the Taxpayer Fairness Group’s senior parliamentary members. We offered them a vision of a solution based on the USA model which we also recommend for Australia. Three of us gave presentations followed by Q&A (YouTube links below).
Jason made some strong points:
“At the core of this is whether governments exist to serve people or citizens exist to serve government … we have provided tax agencies in the Western world with extraordinary powers that are in breach of some pretty fundamental legal rights…”
We provided the UK parliamentary group with:
Almost exclusively, tax debates are about how much money is or should be taken out of which pockets of the people. But the way tax laws are administered cuts to the heart of the power of government over the people. And by ‘government’ we mean the faceless tax bureaucrats who administer the inevitable maze of tax laws.
Tax law administration must be subject to transparency, accountability and checks and balances so that the rule of (tax) law applies in a practical way. That is not the case in Australia nor, it seems, in the UK.
Our campaign is to secure that rule of law. The US model offers a practical template for reform.