Thursday, December 07, 2023

Rob Heferen named new Tax Commissioner

 Rob Heferen The New Commissioner of Taxation

Rob Heferen named new Tax Commissioner

Former Treasury official and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare chief executive Rob Heferen has been named the new Commissioner of Taxation.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said Mr Heferen was an “outstanding leader and one of the nation’s most experienced tax experts”, announcing his appointment from March 1 next year.
Incoming Tax Commissioner Rob Heferen is a 30-year veteran of the federal public service. Ryan Stuart
A former boss of Treasury’s revenue group, Mr Heferen is known for a down-to-earth approach and command of details. He led the secretariat for the last major review of Australia’s tax system, overseen by former Treasury secretary Ken Henry.
He beat out a series of internal and external candidates, including overseas tax experts, in a merit-based process. He replaces outgoing ATO boss Chris Jordan, who retires on February 29 after a decade in the job.
Mr Heferen said it was “an absolute privilege to take on such an important role”.

A well-functioning tax system is vital to ensure governments can properly fund our public services to benefit our entire society,” he said.
Mr Heferen is a 30-year veteran of the federal public service. He began his career in 1989 with the Customs Service before joining the ATO in 1994 and then transferring to Treasury in 1997.
His previous roles include appointments at the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
He has been described as a standout witness in Senate estimates hearings.
“Mr Heferen has previously worked at the ATO and served as the deputy secretary of revenue group at the Treasury between 2011 and 2016, where he had responsibility for tax policy, tax legislation and revenue forecasting,” Dr Chalmers said.
“His diverse experience across policy development and program delivery in a range of portfolios, as well as representing Australia in international forums, including the UN and OECD, will position Mr Heferen well as Commissioner of Taxation.”
ATO second commissioner Jeremy Hirschhorn was among candidates for the job. He has faced scrutiny over the ATO’s response to the PwC tax leaks scandal, including after the firm disclosed paying $12,000 to fly Mr Hirschhorn to Paris to address an international tax conference in 2019.
Former public service chief Martin Parkinson welcomed Mr Heferen’s appointment on Thursday. The pair worked closely at Treasury.
“I cannot think of anyone better equipped to take on the important role of Tax Commissioner than Rob Heferen,” he said.
“He is deeply steeped in taxation policy and understands the importance of fair, efficient and effective tax administration. Combined with his track record as a leader of people and organisations, this makes Rob Heferen an excellent choice for this critical role.”
Dr Chalmers paid tribute to Mr Jordan, who has led the ATO since 2013.
“His leadership and expertise have helped the ATO manage and shape the tax, excise and superannuation systems through a period of great change for our economy.
“Among the important initiatives during his time as commissioner were improved tax compliance efforts targeting multinationals and large corporations, particularly the success of the ATO’s Tax Avoidance Taskforce.”
The government also appointed new members of the Foreign Investment Review Board on Thursday, naming Linda Apelt, Kellie Benda and Sarah Pearson to five-year terms.
The appointments mean five of the nine board members are women.