ATO warning bell

Written on the 5 June 2009

When the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) released its review of the ATO suggesting that improvements could be made to its tax collection processes, it sounded a huge warning bell for taxpayers.

ACCORDING to Adrian Raftery, the CEO of AccountantsRus, the tax office is set to ramp up its audit activity over the next 12 months.

“There is no doubt that after the Budget, coupled with the ANAO review that the taxman is going to be let off the leash to improve revenue collection,” he says.

He points to the ‘sleeper’ in the Federal Budget as measures being put in place to collect additional net revenue of $1383.6 million through enhanced compliance.

“There is significant pressure by Treasury to collect more revenue and the Budget provided the ATO with increased resources to do just that,” says Raftery.

He suggests that taxpayers should ensure that they get their tax affairs in order before the taxman comes knocking.

“If a taxpayer (is) worried that they are not doing the right thing, then I thoroughly recommend that they seek professional advice for items that you are unsure of,” he says.

“The ATO can track patterns of expenses as well as obtain information via data matching software with other organisations so it is imperative that you are accurate.”

Raftery says it is almost a tradition at this time of year for the ATO to issue warning letters and press releases to minimise claims.

But he expects that more follow up action will occur this year with actual audits of taxpayer’s affairs.

He also believes that the ATO will crackdown on ‘dodgy’ tax agents with 62 de-registered in the past year.

“Be very careful about picking your tax agent because you may get into even more strife,” he says.


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