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Court criticises taxpack as misleading



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June 16, 1999 National Tax & Accountants' Association Ltd Page 1 of 1

Press Release Wednesday 17 June 199 9

NTAA

National Tax & Accountants’ Association Level 14, 499 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

COURT CRITICISES TAXPACK AS MISLEADING As some 2.6 million taxpayers will soon start preparing their 1999 taxation returns, the credibility of the ATO’s infamous TaxPack publication has sunk to its lowest level yet, following a Court decision which confirmed TaxPack could not be relied on by taxpayers, due to our complex income tax

legislation.

According to Ray Regan, President of the National Tax & Accountants' Association, “TaxPack fails to adequately prepare taxpayers for making claims. The problem is it only gives a general overview of complex claims, such as the sole parent rebate, yet if taxpayers are audited, the Tax Office disallows taxpayers’ rebates or their work, car, self education and travel claims etc, as they weren’t properly informed in TaxPack about the specific requirements of our overly complex

income tax legislation?

The following is a copy of the transcript from a tax case - Black v FC of T 99 ATC 2001, before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (sitting as the Small Taxation Claims Tribunal), in Melbourne 30 November 1998, where the taxpayer prepared her own return and unfortunately relied on the

TaxPack sole parent rebate explanation:

“In her application to the Tribunal and at the hearing, Ms Black submitted that her circumstances fell squarely within the 1996 “TaxPack" explanation of entitlement to sole parent rebate. She is therefore bewildered (having met, she said, those guidelines and having letters from the ATO accepting the financial details of her relationship), that the

rebate was denied.

Agencies are always at risk when they attempt to explain complex legislation and publicise available benefits. The risk being that the description is either incomplete or misunderstood. Explanatory information is often understood by citizens to be “the law”. It is not. The absence in the TaxPack of a reference to “sole care" and “special circumstances' may be the genesis of this dispute yet to have referred to it may have caused confusion or misunderstanding. Documents of this type are not the place for describing complex legal concepts".

No one could say it clearer “ Documents”, like TaxPack, “are not the place for describing complex legal concepts". The Courts have said it, the Tax Office must now accept it.

Ray Regan, President Mobile: 0418 320 751 Tel: 03 9866 3733 Fax: 03 9866 3072