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ATO boss points to ‘misunderstanding’ in tax agent frustrations


ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan said tax agents who are frustrated by the digitisation and commoditisation of tax-based services need to understand the ATO is “not driving that, we’re trying to keep up.”

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Mr Jordan has long heralded a shaky future for “high-volume, low-margin, simple tax returns,” and he reiterated that message in Sydney yesterday at the World Congress of Accountants.

However, he stressed the ATO is following this market trend, as opposed to leading it for tax agents.

“It’s not us forcing it, that train left a long time ago,” Mr Jordan said.


“I think there’s a misunderstanding there,” he said.

Mr Jordan also backed the ATO’s digital systems for tax services, given the volume of transactions the Tax Office processes and the budgets it works within.  

“We cop a bit,” Mr Jordan said.  “No system can cover everything. If that’s not good enough, go to government, say ‘let’s give the Tax Office an extra billion dollars a year.’ If I get an extra billion a year, our IT systems will be better. No doubt in the world... but the government has got other priorities,” he said.

The ATO’s tax agent portals, in particular, have been plagued by instability, and the profession continues to wait on the complete roll-out of its new platforms.

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Katarina Taurian


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