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JOINT COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS AND AUDIT - 20/04/2007 - Biannual hearing with Commissioner of Taxation
JOINT COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS AND AUDIT
Joint committee
Friday, 20 April 2007
Biannual hearing with Commissioner of Taxation
Proof

CHAIR (Mr Barresi) —These meetings had their origin in a public hearing between the committee and the commissioner last November. The committee noted that the tax office would benefit from having a formal occasion to have ongoing and regular communication with the community. The House economics committee has set a precedent in its meetings with the Reserve Bank. The committee believes such a model can be adapted to the tax office. The ATO has publicly stated that it is prepared to be accountable and believes that it has a positive to story to tell about tax administration in this country. These meetings are likely to evolve over time. Possible topics include the ATO’s performance, current and emerging threats to the revenue, and how the ATO is responding to its external reviews. The committee is open to feedback and comment from the public on how it can get the most from these hearings.

The second part of this public hearing will be devoted to the committee’s inquiry into certain taxation matters. This will be the third time that the tax office has appeared before the committee with regard to that specific inquiry. The tax office has a number of areas in which to update the committee. One topic we are likely to discuss in the second half of today’s meeting is how the ATO has responded to its loss in the full Federal Court in the Indooroopilly case, which upheld the principle established in 2002 by Essenbourne.

I remind participants the committee will be looking at policy and administration matters only. We are not seeking to act as a review panel for any individual case studies or grievances with the tax office. By law, the ATO cannot disclose details of an individual’s tax matters. I advise witnesses that the hearings today are legal proceedings of the parliament and warrant the same respect as the proceedings of the House itself. The giving of false or misleading evidence is a serious matter and may be regarded as a contempt of parliament. The evidence given today will be recorded by Hansard and will attract parliamentary privilege.

[11.01 am]