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ATO powers: The Australian responds to Mark Leibler’s Tax Institute speech

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In today’s Australian, business columnist Robert Gottliebsen responds to Arnold Bloch Leibler Senior Partner Mark Leibler’s address at last week’s Tax Institute National Convention.

In his keynote address to an audience over 350 people at the Tax Institute’s 33rd National Convention, Mark Leibler put a spotlight on the extraordinary powers of the ATO and the Commissioner of Taxation. He told an audience of 350 tax professionals from across Australia that to represent clients to the best of their abilities, advisers need to recognise the vast power that rests with the Commissioner and his empire to interpret and apply the law.

Referring to Mark’s comments about the far-reaching powers of the ATO, Robert Gottliebsen agrees: “There are few better lawyers in Australia over the last half-century than Mark Leibler so if he says that I am sure it is right. I knew the ATO powers were wide but I did not know they were that wide. They are beyond the rule of law.

“I think it is important for all the politicians in Canberra to understand these powers”.

Robert goes on to argue that – given the ATO’s powers - small businesses need “the same rights as the large end of town - access to an independent appeal body that they can afford” to appeal against ATO decisions, making the suggestion that the Inspector-General of Taxation be that body.

To read the full article, click here, and to read a transcript of Mark’s keynote address, click here.

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