Inspector-General of Taxation’s annual report

The Inspector-General of Taxation has tabled his annual report for 2017/18. As an outgoing IGT, Mr Ali Noroozi reflected on the evolution of the IGT and highlighted some of its achievements over the last 10 years of his tenure.

Mr Noroozi noted that over the past 10 years, the IGT has become a mainstay in the tax landscape, both domestically and internationally, and has played a major role in delivering improvements and reshaping the administration of the Australian tax system. The office has grown over four times in size and the role has become that of an ombudsman with respect to tax administration. The most significant legacies Mr Noroozi believes he leaves behind are the establishment of an efficient and effective complaints handling function within the IGT, the move to creating a separate appeals area within the ATO and a large volume of high quality reports into many aspects of tax administration.

Mr Noroozi noted that the comprehensive IGT reviews into systemic tax administration issues over the last 10 years have been a major force in prompting significant improvements. In addition to the improvements flowing from IGT recommendations, the IGT’s reviews have become more widely recognised as a source of evidence-based assurance regarding ATO actions. Mr Noroozi believes that the broad range and the transparent reporting of the reviews have significantly bolstered community support for the work of the IGT.

To date, the IGT has handled over 7,000 complaints from a range of tax professionals and taxpayers including vulnerable individuals and small businesses. In the 2017/18 financial year, the number of complaints increased by 7% and 12% compared with the prior two financial years.

Mr Noroozi noted that the community feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with the IGT consistently achieving a satisfaction rating of 80%. However, he said that more needs to be done to ensure that taxpayers, particularly the most vulnerable individuals and small businesses, know where to turn when they are most in need of specialist assistance to address their concerns with the actions of the ATO or Taxation Practitioners Board. Accordingly, the IGT is putting in place a communications strategy to reach more taxpayers.