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Campaign started for small business tax tribunal

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Regular website visitors will have followed our campaigns on the tax front. In fact we’ve been campaigning on tax issues since we began in 2000.

Our years of experience and knowledge came to a head late last year in the successful legal defence of independent IT contractor Rod Douglass. In court the ATO admitted that its allegation of ‘evasion’ against Rod was ‘baseless’. It dropped some $400,000 in tax claims against him. We have more legal cases pending in 2017.

All this experience has taught us that major change is needed in the ways in which small business people are treated by the Australian Taxation Office.

We have formulated a vision of an independent Small Business Tax Tribunal.

We have started the campaign. Early results are:
We are in advanced talks with other major policy influencers and decision-makers.

Here’s an overview of the idea:

Tax tribunal for small business and individual taxpayers

A low cost, non-adversarial, independent, tax dispute-resolution procedure for small business people. The proposal below is modelled on the current Immigration Tribunal.
  • Tribunal independent from the ATO, made up of tax and legal specialists.
  • Tribunal determination would be required before a matter could go to the courts (AAT or Federal).
  • A small business applicant would pay a modest fee (say, $1,600) for a hearing.
  • Lawyers could not represent either the ATO or the small businessperson in any hearings.
  • The Tribunal would review the ATO’s allegations against the small businessperson with a view to a correct application of tax law.
  • The small businessperson could present his or her case.
  • The Tribunal would make a decision binding on the ATO.
  • If the Tribunal made a decision in favour of the small businessperson, the person would receive a rebate of (say, $800) on their lodgement fee.
  • If the Tribunal made a decision against the small businessperson the person would retain the right to appeal to a court.
The Inspector-General of Taxation is an office that could probably have its powers extended to include those of a Small Business Tax Tribunal.

As the campaign gathers momentum, we'll put the details on our dedicated Taxation page.


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