There has been a major development in the last days of Federal Parliament for this year. For the first time a parliamentarian has made a clear call for reform of the Australian Taxation Office.
Liberal elder statesman Senator Eric Abetz is a former senior minister and government leader in the Senate. Last Wednesday (4 December) he delivered a punchy speech in which he demonstrated why the ATO needs to be reformed. He also outlined a model for how that should be done.
The Senator’s five-minute speech can be viewed here. It’s short but significant!
Senator Abetz referred to
“…the heavy-handed, non-transparent way in which the ATO is treating too many self-employed Australians.”
He added that reform is needed that will “…hold the ATO to account”. And he pointed to the USA’s tax administration laws as a model where, for example:
“… a tax debt … can only be collected once appeals have been exhausted, rather than as soon as it is claimed …” (as happens in Australia)
Senator Abetz’s speech is important because this is the first time in the Federal Parliament that someone has clearly staked out the need for reform of the ATO. It’s a sign that our parliamentarians are becoming sick of constantly hearing stories of the ATO’s abuse of taxpayers and that they want to see the ATO fixed.