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Accounting firms may review tax accounts in place of ATO

An ATO pilot program – the external compliance assurance process – that allowed taxpayers to self assess has been named success and could be rolled out more widely.

According to a Fairfax report, the program involving 56 companies with an annual turnover between $100 million and $5 billion, allowed the choice of using a registered company auditor or the ATO to clarify factual matters identified by the ATO.

The ATO told Fairfax that the registered company auditors were used to “reconcile and agree factual data in the financial and tax accounts of large businesses,” and based on the feedback of participating companies and auditors, the program could be rolled out to companies with a turnover of less than $100 million. The ATO stressed that the process was not an audit.

“The pilot proved that these approaches can offer an enhanced client experience, reduce red tape, offer clients greater control over their business compliance obligations while providing certainty to clients more quickly,” the ATO told Fairfax.

The ATO has been under increasing increasing resources pressure after having made a significant number of job cuts over recent years.

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