Tax agents left out of ATO’s corporate plan, says leading adviser

tax agents ato

Tax trainer and adviser John Jeffreys. Source: LinkedIn

The Australian Taxation Office recently released its corporate plan for the 2023-24 financial year, but one tax expert believes it contains a gaping hole.

Tax trainer and adviser John Jeffreys said that the corporate plan put out by Australia’s revenue authority covers many things, including priorities, performance measures, and operating risks but it does not offer a plan for tax agents.

Jeffreys said in a post on LinkedIn the only reference to tax agents relates to the now-famous Tax Practitioners Board, the body responsible for disciplining both PwC and its former partner Peter Collins last year.

The ATO sets out the purpose of the tax agent regulator, including the fact a part of its purpose is to ensure “that tax practitioners comply with the [Tax Agent Services Act], including the Code of Professional Conduct”.

Jeffreys does not believe this is enough.

“This part merely restates the role of the TPB,” he said. “I can’t help the conclusion that tax agents aren’t a priority for the ATO.”

Jeffreys said he believes the tax system would collapse if tax agents did not exist, given a large percentage of people use agents to deal with their tax obligations.

“Am I expecting too much for the ATO to have a specific plan for how it will engage with and enhance the tax agent network? Is this not a fundamental plank in the revenue collection process? Should this not appear somewhere in the ATO corporate plan?” Jeffreys asked.

“Perhaps I’m expecting too much or maybe I am not reading the corporate plan correctly? But I think that many tax agents would feel disappointed that their important role in the tax system is almost not referenced in the ATO’s corporate plan.”

This article was first published by The Mandarin.


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