GST refund process operating efficiently

The ATO welcomes the Inspector General of Taxation’s (IGT) acknowledgement that our administration of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund process is operating efficiently and that we already have work underway to ensure further improvements.

Deputy Commissioner Jeremy Geale said the ATO is focused on safeguarding the integrity of the GST system while making it as easy as possible for businesses to comply.

“The ATO is focused on supporting honest businesses to meet their GST obligations by offering help and assistance for them to get it right in the first instance,” Mr Geale said.

“At the same time, we will continue to target our compliance resources to identifying those who deliberately do the wrong thing.

“While the vast majority of GST refunds are processed and released without being stopped for verification, it’s important that we continue to review refunds we identify as high risk to confirm they are legitimate.”

We also target GST non-compliance in certain industries where we see patterns of suspect behaviour, such as unsubstantiated claims for business expenses or out and out fraudulent claims.

The ATO has recently increased our review of GST refund applications within the precious metals industry. To ensure we are not stopping refunds unnecessarily our refund verification is focussed on areas of high risk.

“While this more stringent compliance approach has resulted in the retention of some GST refunds, compliant taxpayers in the precious metals industry have not been adversely affected,” Mr Geale said.

“To put this into context, many of the taxpayers whose refunds have been retained have directors or associated entities that were previously involved in compliance action relating to more than $280 million in tax assessments.

“In the past few years, this has included the precious metal industry. As the report recognises this was an industry, in which there were serious risks.

“We are resolute in ensuring the integrity of the GST system and where supply chains and missing traders present a risk to revenue we will take firm action.”

The IGT’s report directly addresses discrete aspects of the GST refund verification process in the precious metals industry.

We note that the IGT has reviewed complaints by taxpayers who have not previously been subject to compliance action, and made no adverse findings in relation to these complaints. A number of these claims have also been subject to review by the courts which has affirmed our actions.

Read the ATO’s formal response to the IGT.

ATO Media

02 6216 1901

[email protected]

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