Business Law Section

ATO Consultation: proposed changes to penalties for small business and individuals

The Taxation Committee of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia (the Committee) welcomes the opportunity to provide comments and submissions in response to the consultation paper outlining the ATO initiative concerning proposed changes to penalties for small business and individuals. 

Broadly, the Committee believes the proposed changes are positive and that the benefits to those taxpayers affected by the changes, in particular the cost and time savings associated with dealing with such penalties, will be well received. Importantly, the approach of the ATO with respect to such penalties represents a good opportunity for the tax system to remain engaged with those taxpayers affected and to educate them in a non-threatening manner. Clearly however the proposed changes need to be carefully considered in terms of the fairness of the tax system as a whole. 

Following consultation with members, the Committee has set out below the aspects of the proposed “one chance” regime that we believe require further consideration. Some of these issues were discussed at the consultation sessions that have already been held and some reflect on the questions that were raised in the ATO consultation paper issued in September 2016 (the Consultation Paper). The nature of the Committee’s submissions is conceptual rather than mechanical. 

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