How the ATO are Stealing your Privacy

How the ATO are Stealing your Privacy

Our digital data and privacy are a heated discussion lately seeing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an intense 2 day questioning over alleged privacy leaks.

The Australian Government has introduced Tax reforms that will allow the Australian Tax Office authorization to provide your details to external agencies without your consent.

The Transparency of Taxation Debts law proposes business in tax debt in excess of $10,000 will be subject to credit reporting agencies after 90 days. The ATO insists proper safeguards are in place to protect taxpayers however few are convinced and several submissions to an inquiry have expressed concerns.

Inspector-General of Taxation Ali Noroozi has received and assed complaints about the ATO. In a statement Noroozi stated the ATO would now have to “provide independent assurance and safeguard with respect to the administration of the measures.

Mr Noroozi recommended the proposed laws require the ATO to inform affected taxpayers that they can lodge a complaint with his office. His 2015 Debt Collection review found his office had continued to receive complaints in payment arrangements to the ATO.

The Debt Collection bill provides an exemption for tax payers from having their information disclosed provided they effectively engages with the commissioner to manage their tax debt. Yet many business owners seek further definitions on what is considered ‘effective communication.’

Self Employed Australia’s Ken Phillips said his members opposed the bill calling for these laws to be withdrawn

“The Bill is not promoting a transparency issue,” he said. “Rather, it is a grab for additional powers by the ATOs use against small business people.” Mr. Phillips said the ATO already had “draconian powers”.

“If Parliament were to give the ATO additional power to report small business people’s alleged tax debts to credit rating agencies, it would further extend the ATO’s ability to bully, harass and destroy small business people.”

An ATO spokesperson release a statement ensuring taxpayer safeguards were already available.

The measure was designed to “support more informed decision-making in the business community by making unpaid tax debts visible … [sic] reduce unfair advantage obtained by businesses that do not pay their tax on time, and encourage businesses to engage with us to manage their tax debts”.

In addition to violation of privacy, Sydney Morning Herald reports credit ratings may be damaged due to poor communication between the ATO and businesspersons. The ATO’s reputation of unethical practices and alleged bullying tactics hold great concern for the proposed changes to regulations

In further comment Mr. Noroozi aims to safe guard taxpayers when situations become less than ideal.

“To make sure in instances where things don’t go right, that my office catches those so that a small business or an individual doesn’t have a devastating effect of having their credit rating trashed, Mr. Noroozi said

Though much fear an speculation arises surrounding the Turnbull Governments changes, ensure you –as a business owner- have the correct tools in place to avoid dealing with this issue first hand.

Taxation matters in Australia will always be a heavy debate. Educate yourself and your associates to ensure you have the means for un-interrupted success. We have great services that will provide you with everything you need to run a small business while remaining compliant with local laws and regulations.

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