REGULATING THE REGULATOR: ASSESSING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ATO’S EXTERNAL SCRUTINY ARRANGEMENTS
By Sunita Jogarajan
In April 2016, the Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue (‘SCTR’) published its ‘Report on the External Scrutiny of the Australian Taxation Office’.1 The report was the result of concerns raised by the Australian Taxation Office (‘ATO’) that it faced excessive external scrutiny. The SCTR’s terms of reference focused on the issues of duplication and overlap of reviews, cost to government of the reviews, and differential regulation (whether the ATO had demonstrated good risk management and high standards of performance such that differential regulation permitted by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 could be extended to reduce its external scrutiny). The SCTR found that the substantial external scrutiny placed on the ATO was warranted in light of the ATO’s considerable resources and power, and importance to the general system of government. However, the SCTR only touched on the effectiveness of existing external ATO scrutiny arrangements in its report, as this question was not within its terms of reference.