IT’S TIME TO REFORM THE ATO
A recent ABC/Four Corners investigation reveals the deep extent of the anti-taxpayer and anti-small business culture within the Australian Taxation Office.
Innocent taxpayers and small business have been left hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket, as the ATO has aggressively pursued claims based on basic administrative errors, destroying people’s livelihoods and coercing many into paying up to avoid the threat and cost of protracted legal action.
To make matters worse, the ATO is able to seize payment from those it accuses of tax evasion without having to prove to an independent court or tribunal that a debt is even owed, by using garnishee orders which simply take funds out of people’s superannuation and personal bank accounts.
That’s right – taxpayers have fewer rights than accused murderers in Australia.
When businesses decide to fight back and win in court, they are often left worse off with mounting legal bills and paltry compensation offers.
When whistle-blowers expose their unethical culture and practices, the ATO simply fires them.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
Support our important campaign by signing the petition below.
We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned and angered by recent findings about the Australian Tax Office.
We are shocked that the organisation has aggressively pursued debts from small businesses it has falsely accused of tax evasion on the basis of administrative errors –destroying the livelihoods of hardworking businesspeople and taxpayers and effectively coercing payment through the threat of expensive and protracted legal action.
We are even more shocked that the ATO is able to claim debts from those it accuses of tax evasion without first having to prove to a court, tribunal or other independent authority that their claim is valid in the first place. Innocent until proven guilty is a cornerstone of our legal system and the ATO should not be able to abrogate this basic rule of justice and fairness.
The use of garnishee orders to compel payment from accused debtors prior to the completion of any objection or independent review process, is both cruel and unjust.
We call on the Australian government to:
- Deliver fairness for taxpayers by reforming the ATO so it has to prove the validity of the debts it claims – the same as any creditor before a court of law or tribunal.
- Remove the legal powers which allow the ATO to garnishee funds from people’s bank and superannuation accounts before objection and appeals processes have been completed.
- Legislate protections for whistle blowers within the ATO who do the right thing by reporting unethical practices and the unethical culture of aggressively pursuing taxpayers.