Inspector General of Taxation (IGT), Ali Noroozi has given his final public address at the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) National Congress in Sydney today before his departure from office next Monday.

While Mr Noroozi has speaking engagements through to March 2019, this was his final speech as Inspector General.

“The office of the IGT should be renamed one of taxation ombudsman, particularly since given the role of complaint handling,” said Mr Noroozi.

“There is an issue relating to independence; the IGT should report to Parliament and not be caught in the same mix with the ATO and Treasury reporting to the same minister,” he said.

Mr Noroozi spoke frankly to delegates about the taxation office and some of its commentary based on small sample sizes that has painted an unfortunate picture of accountants.

“Further, if the ATO wishes to push digitisation which it should do, it should also be providing stable IT platforms.

“It is good that we have not had the systemic ATO portal outages since 2016/17 but they must be held accountable while they are dictating digitisation.

“The tax office debt collection is conducted across a number of offices and there needs to be greater consistency across the nation.

Mr Noroozi spoke of the many factors the IGT handles in terms of complaints, however, he stressed that we are all responsible for managing the tax system.

“Managing the tax system is not just for the ATO or the IGT but every one of you; we are all guardians of the tax system,” he said.

“However, the ATO should have a Board with a Chair and directors with varying experiences including IT, communications and governance.

“Currently, there is too much power left with one individual and that power should be divested with an independent board,” said Mr Noroozi.