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Question marks over Tax Office 'private binding rulings'

Question Marks Over Tax Office 'Private Binding Rulings'


Kelvin Thomson - Shadow Assistant Treasurer


Media Statement - 29 March 2000


Labor's Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Mr Kelvin Thomson has called on the Government to restore certainty to the ATO system of private binding rulings.


"The ATO has issued over 7300 rulings on the GST alone, and now the Tax Commissioner is warning against tax schemes that rely on tax rulings. This will surely result in a heightened level of insecurity for any business relying on GST rulings.


"The ATO must act urgently to clarify the status of its draft GST rulings.


"The system of Private Binding Ruling is now in disarray, and in urgent need of independent investigation by the Auditor General's office.


"The present accountability mechanisms and monitoring of Private Binding Rulings appear to be far from adequate. Thousands of organisations and taxpayers have been acting in reliance on the rulings being given by the ATO, and they need to know that they can continue to do so.


"The Government's GST has complicated our taxation system, and there is an unprecedented level of uncertainty over taxation obligations. The Tax Office announcement that private binding ruling may no longer be binding is a recipe for instability and will result in litigation. It is most unsatisfactory and can only damage public confidence in the Tax Office."

Authorised by Gary Gray, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.