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7 J. Austl. Tax'n 1 (2004)

handle is hein.journals/jouaustx7 and id is 1 raw text is: THE QUALITIES OF A GOOD TAX
ADMINISTRATION
Guest Editorial
by
Michael D'Ascenzo
Second Commissioner of Taxation
1. INTRODUCTION
Taxes are the price we pay for a civilised society.
In democratic countries the choices made in relation to taxation
at the ballot box reflect the community's agreement or disagreement
with the decisions made by government in relation to taxation.
However, what is clear is that some level of taxation is necessary to
fund public goods and services. It follows that an ethical and
effective tax administration is an important societal institution for
any country.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has a proud history as
a world class tax administration which has generally exhibited the
highest levels of integrity and probity. The approach of the ATO has
for a long time been based upon encouraging taxpayers to comply
with the tax law through a mix of help and active compliance
strategies. Moreover Australian taxpayers have extensive rights and
resources that are enforceable under the law. Structural features such
as binding public and private ruling systems complement the more
traditional rights of objection and appeal, and work to enhance
taxpayer certainty.
Nevertheless, tax administrations increasingly need to engage
with the community in respect of the community's tax system. After
all the Australian tax system (and the ATO) exist to support
Australia as a civilised society- and belong to all Australians.

(2004) 7(1)

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