The more realistic policy objective than working from the very wealthy down is

The more realistic policy objective than working from

This preview shows page 260 - 262 out of 311 pages.

The more realistic policy objective than working from the very wealthy down is over time to push up the level of wealth where tax planning can succeed in eliminating the need to pay tax – that is, moving from the wealthy up toward the very wealthy. The strongest and most widely held basis for doubt about the effectiveness of the taskforce was the belief that it collected a lot of information and then did little or nothing with it. Doubts were widespread that anyone had even looked at the information in the returns they had put in, let alone subjected it to a rigorous risk assessment and followed up with audit where appropriate: ‘It’s a fishing expedition. They don’t know what they’re looking for’. Risk Assessment Another virtually universal reaction in the interviews was that the politicised beginning of the taskforce was a source of resentment. Former Treasurer, Ralph Willis, claimed that HWIs were avoiding $800 million a year in unpaid taxes during the 1995 election campaign. This was a frequently cited focus of resentment. In some cases, the Commissioner of Taxation was seen as a co- conspirator with the government in whipping up a ‘witch-hunt’ against HWIs. This then led to an attack on the way the initial targets were selected. Business Review Weekly’s list of the wealthiest 200 Australians was widely seen as the basis of the
Image of page 260
Through the Eyes of the Advisers 251 initial targeting, and as a markedly inaccurate source. Some HWI advisers claimed they had other clients who were wealthier than the clients who were targeted. Beyond the complaint about the initial basis for risk assessment, there was little complaint about the way subsequent risk assessment was tackled. In many cases, HWI advisers seemed to have very little knowledge of how risk assessment was done. But if risk assessment were a black box to them, it was not a source of complaint. Many advisers were of the view that the shift away from full audits to risk assessment followed by a suite of audit products was a sound move by the ATO. Others were cynical, believing that compliance was falling because the risk of audit had fallen and that this fact was widely recognised in the marketplace. There was general agreement, however, that the ATO was doing a more competent job of risk assessment: The general view in the accounting profession is that the ATO is better geared than it ever was to detect where the leakage is. Therefore it should be possible for the ATO to keep a clamp on the most aggressive activity. But it audits less, making that more difficult. Fairness and Professionalism While there were many concerns about the fairness of the program, views about the fairness and professionalism of the ATO staff with whom advisers had dealt were overwhelmingly positive. A number of advisers complained that they had little or no contact, but for those who did, only seven were critical of the experience. The strongest criticism was lack of technical competence. Only a handful of incidents were described where ATO staff was seen as less than fair or professional. One
Image of page 261
Image of page 262

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 311 pages?

  • Fall '16
  • tax authority, Australian Taxation Office, Tax Office, Compliance Model

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask ( soon) You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors