Provision exists for auditors to identify risks on case files that are

Provision exists for auditors to identify risks on

This preview shows page 202 - 204 out of 311 pages.

unless the law is clarified or improved. Provision exists for auditors to identify risks on case files that are available for computer analysis to group problems that are looking for common solutions. The culture change needed is one where writing down the risk is just the beginning of a process for the fieldworker of following the risk through to ensure there is a ruling or litigation to clarify the case law, an actual change in the law, or a principled decision to let the risk sit there until the next comprehensive reform of the law. At every stage the fieldworker has a role as a reality tester for the lawyers, as an antenna to detect the latest manoeuvre of the other side and as a test pilot for the proposed legal remedy. Tax law will become more certain and effective when fieldworkers are engaged with the daunting challenge of continuous improvement of a living law rather than the narrow challenge of enforcing a static law. It will become even more certain and effective if fieldworkers engage the public-regarding side of large business at the coalface, where the problem in the law breaks out, to help repair the law in the public interest. Law reform in the past has been too top-down and insufficiently continuous. Also, as argued at the beginning of the chapter, it has not engaged the people of Australia in public discussion and understanding often enough. The ATO needs to persuade the people of Australia that more equitable and certain enforcement of the tax law is something they can reasonably demand of their institutions – the parliament, the judiciary and the ATO. By articulating forcefully to the Australian people that the ATO does not want to be let off the hook for tax integrity, it makes it harder for the parliament and judiciary to be allowed off the hook (which to a significant extent they have been in the past). It is doubtful that any amount of synoptic brilliance in re-configuring tax law at one point of history can deliver Australia a high integrity tax system. Rather,
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Large Business and the Compliance Model 193 what is required is for us to be more pre-emptive through a continuous improvement process of simplification-clarification-resimplification-clarification. This iterates endlessly. Commitment to excellence in the pre-emptiveness and responsiveness required for continuous improvement of tax law is the key. Australia can have a high integrity tax system, but only if the ATO, the parliament and the judiciary jointly end the buck-passing. My plea is that the ATO publicly put up its hand and force the hands of the other institutions. Flexible Dispute Resolution Improved disputing can improve compliance considerably. The reason is the now substantial evidence that when people and companies believe they have experienced fair procedures, they are more likely to comply with the law (Lind and Tyler, 1988; Tyler, 1990, 1998; Tyler and Dawes, 1993; Makkai and Braithwaite, 1996).
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  • Fall '16
  • tax authority, Australian Taxation Office, Tax Office, Compliance Model

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