Partners or combatants: a comment of the Australian Tax Office's view of its relationship with the tax advising profession

Dabner, Justin (2008) Partners or combatants: a comment of the Australian Tax Office's view of its relationship with the tax advising profession. Journal of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association, 3 (1). pp. 76-94.

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Abstract

The approach to administration of the Australian tax system has, over time, fluctuated between an adversarial and a co-operative approach. Currently, consistent with a move to a responsive regulatory strategy, the Australian Tax Office (“ATO”) has expressed its desire for a co-operative partnership style relationship with the tax advising profession. The profession is seen, in its view, as a critical leverage point to promote voluntary compliance with the tax system by the bulk of taxpayers. The advent of a partnership style relationship between the ATO and the tax profession raises many issues, primary of which is whether the desire to establish this relationship is mere rhetoric employed by both parties in the pursuit of their divergent interests. In fact, the very existence of these opposing interests raises the possibility of ethical conflicts that need to be carefully managed by both parties to the partnership.

The ATO is to be commended for the humane and practical way in which the evidence in this case shows its officers dealt with persons who are in difficulties. That attitude indeed probably produces more actual cash into the Treasury than any other approach. It will occur from time to time that some taxpayer will abuse that approach. It may also be that the laws … nowadays operate unfairly against the ATO. I hope that neither of these last two points will operate to change the general attitude.

Justice Young in Dean-Willcocks v FCT (2004) NSWSC 1058 10 November 2004) at para 88.

Item ID: 6705
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: taxation
Additional Information:

Reproduced with permission from the Journal of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association.

ISSN: 1832-911X
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2010 05:48
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180125 Taxation Law @ 100%
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