Release: Taxpayers Welcome ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan's Comments

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, a 75,000+ member grassroots advocacy group representing the nation’s taxpayers, today welcomed the comments of ATO Commissioner Chris Jordan which criticised his own organisation's current role in vetting tax incentives for Research and Development.

Jordan's comments come after a number of businesses faced expensive litigation at the behest of the ATO after being accused, often wrongly, of benefiting from tax breaks which they weren't meant to be eligible for.

"We agree with Chris Jordan that the ATO should step away from overseeing eligibility for Research and Development." said ATA Director of Policy, Satya Marar.

"Guidelines around these incentives are often unclear and favour businesses who are adept at gaming the system. Meanwhile, honest innovative businesses are finding themselves on the hook to pay back these concessions with interest years after the fact despite a genuine belief that they were eligible."

"No one should have to go to court just to find out what the law means. The cost of litigation can be prohibitively expensive and can put hardworking taxpayers out of business. The ATO itself often gets it wrong when it comes to businesses that it deems ineligible. Often by this point, the money has already been invested in research projects and cannot be repaid without damaging someone's livelihood.

"We call on the government to reform the rules around these concessions to deliver more clarity for businesses and call for the appraisal of eligibility to be determined by an independent body that is better suited to the task than the ATO."

Brian Marlow