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Australia To Simplify Self-Assessment Filing System

by Mary Swire, Tax-News.com, Hong Kong

20 December 2004


Australia’s self-assessment tax system is to be simplified following the recommendations of a government-commissioned review were made known last week.

According to Australian Treasurer Peter Costello, changes to the system as a result of the report will “move the balance of fairness markedly in favour of taxpayers who act in good faith,” whilst also building more flexibility into the self-assessment system.

Some of the key recommendations include improving the provision and accessibility of Tax Office advice; reducing the periods allowed for the ATO to increase a taxpayer’s liability in a wide range of situations, benefiting some 8 million individuals and 745,000 small firms; reducing interest and penalties associated with taxpayer errors which have arisen as a result of uncertainty; and improving policy processes, law design and administrative processes.

“The Review has identified a number of refinements to the current self-assessment system that will reduce uncertainty and compliance costs for taxpayers, while preserving the Tax Office’s capacity to collect legitimate income tax liabilities,” Costello observed.

The government intends to have legislation introduced, debated and passed by 30th June, 2005.


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