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JOINT COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS AND AUDIT - 30/04/2008 - Biannual hearing with Commissioner of Taxation
Joint committee
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Biannual hearing with Commissioner of Taxation

CHAIR (Ms Grierson) —Thank you very much everyone. I welcome everybody here this morning to the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit’s third biannual meeting with the Commissioner of Taxation and the Australian Tax Office. This agency has an annual core budget of $2.8 billion. Its total transaction amounts far exceed this. Refunds alone are $73 billion. The ATO is one of Australia’s best resourced and most powerful agencies. It is also a key agency in ensuring the Commonwealth can fund programs and provide essential national services. Accordingly, this committee has established a program of biannual hearings with the commissioner to discuss new developments in tax administration. This extends to all areas under tax office management, including superannuation, and by holding the tax office to account we hope to help establish the sort of culture that means the ATO deals with honest taxpayers fairly and tax evaders fearlessly.

I remind participants that 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 of course cannot disclose details of an individual’s tax matters. Before beginning, though, I advise all witnesses that the hearings today are legal proceedings of the parliament and warrant the same respect as proceedings of the House. The giving of false or misleading evidence is a serious matter and may be regarded as a contempt of the parliament. The evidence given today will be recorded by Hansard and will attract parliamentary privilege.

[11.07 am]