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ATO ANNUAL REPORT
The ATO released its Annual Report late last year. It reports on the Government’s administration and performance for the 2014-2015 Financial Year and provides information about the ATO’s compliance activities and dispute resolution strategies.
The number of disputes recorded by the ATO more than doubled in the 2014-15 financial year. More than 1000 reported cases were settled compared to just under 400 in the year previously. It has also been reported that 84% of cases were settled before legal action was taken, up 7% from the 2013-14 year.
In legal cases, the Commissioner agreed to settle 80% of applications lodged before a hearing had occurred. Its shows that the Commissioner is beginning to be more selective about the types of disputes that it takes legal action on. By doing so, the ATO had reduced its legal expenditure to $81 million, down from over $100 million.
The reduction of resources used in legal cases has resulted in an increase of the number of reviews, audits and early engagement strategies. In the 2014-15 financial year, the ATO
Conducted over 26,000 reviews
Made over 450,000 tax adjustments resulting from audits
Participated in over 150 alternative dispute resolutions
Conducted 50 audits and 520 reviews of larger businesses.
The ATO is continuously engaging with taxpayers before their returns are lodged. This has been done through pre-lodgement reviews, reminders and pre-filling tax returns. The ATO’s shift towards early resolutions to quickly and efficiently close cases is showing that the ATO is targeting compliance activities in the coming year.