Friday, April 10, 2015

Trevor Boucher: "climate of fear" & "internal fiefdoms"

.... Fairfax Media can reveal that as recently as 1984 the Tax Office routinely published the names of taxpayers and companies it found to be engaged in breaches or evasion.

"It used to be called 'the honours list' internally," said former Tax Commissioner Trevor Boucher.
The Honours List 

The government has foreshadowed that it might give 700 of the nation's biggest private companies an exemption from filing accounts because of kidnapping concerns and commercial confidentialities.
Asked whether Treasury had provided advice to government on kidnapping, Heferen said he was aware of the debate but said that no advice had been offered by Treasury on kidnapping The Senate's secret of its success

"We have a number of secondments, we have them from the Tax Office ... [and] from professional firms ... and never have I ever heard of any occasion where there's any talk from any one that feels anything inappropriate from what those people have been done." Multinational Profitshifting and Tax Gap

A former Tax Office employee has told the Senate inquiry into corporate tax avoidance that the ATO is giving up billions of dollars in revenue as it rushes to settle claims against big companies, often before it's even consulted its own lawyers.
Ex-ATO official Martin Lock, who took a redundancy from the agency last year, was highly critical of the Tax Office's common use of settlements with big business and its "risk rating" system, which the agency uses to determine how aggressively it audits large companies.
Corporate tax: ex-ATO official criticises rushed settlements, 'climate of fear' 

Claims staff cuts at the Australian Taxation Office have hurt its ­ability to pursue large companies have been aired as Australia’s two biggest miners revealed they were under investigation over alleged tax minimisation. 

David Brunori is my favorite tax policy commentator ($link):

There is a theory that says the tax laws should be used to do one thing — raise revenue to pay for public services. Taxes should not be used to engineer society, promote social agendas, foster economic development, or help anyone in particular. This theory has merit. Adherence would lead to less cronyism, fewer economic distortions, and less regulation through the tax code. State governments, of course, violate these principles all the time.
Who are the perpetrators? Those striving for bad tax policy represent an odd coalition of people who want to run your life, and people who simply want your money.

Miliband's abolition: Many have tried to close non-dom loopholeall have failed