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IPA slams the ATO's income shortfall claims

The IPA’s senior tax adviser has hit out at recent comments made by ATO second commissioner Geoff Leeper regarding an expected $500 million dollar reduction in fee income for accountants.

News Michael Masterman 03 December 2014
— 1 minute read

The institute's Tony Greco rebuked Mr Leeper for his comments on Standard Business Reporting (SBR) and the technology’s effect on the accounting industry in which Mr Leeper said much of an expected $500 million red-tape reduction saving from SBR would come from professional fees.

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Mr Greco dismissed Mr Leeper's claims saying the technology is nowhere near capable of making such an impact.

“I don’t think he understands some of the practicalities of the current restrictions,” said Mr Greco.

“Software packages just can’t - even with a standard chart of accounts - they can’t automatically produce a tax return, especially for a business client,” he said.

Mr Greco said the current taxation legislation and current accounting framework differ too greatly for a standard chart of accounts to be feasible.

“There is a thing called the Tax Act that unfortunately a lot of things have to be adjusted for, and that all happens off book. There is no software system that can handle all the ins and outs of the Tax Act and produce a return with minimal intervention. It’s just not there,” Mr Greco said.

“It’s just not possible, even with SBR, that you can generate that seamless result, and if you ask privately people in the ATO they will agree that Geoff Leeper's comments are bullish and a bit visionary and don’t take into account the reality of the situation.”

Mr Greco said major legislative reform would be needed to achieve the type of streamlined processes Mr Leeper has talked about.

“You’d need to make it possible by re-engineering the Tax Act,” he said.

“I think the tax office has to recognise some of the practical difficulties with some of the stuff that they’re stating publicly and I'd be surprised if Geoff Leeper where to make the same comments going forward - that’s how strongly I feel. His comments are just not realistic."

IPA slams the ATO's income shortfall claims
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