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This is the first of two audit reports concerning the Tax Office's administration of SMSFs pursuant to the provisions of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993. This audit report examines the efficiency and effectiveness of the Tax Office's approach to regulating and registering self managed superannuation funds. Specifically the ANAO examined the:
Environment in which SMSFs operate, including the Tax Office's regulatory roles and responsibilities;
Tax Office's governance of its SMSF regulatory role; and
Systems, processes and controls the Tax Office uses to register SMSFs, and enforce the lodgement of fund income tax and regulatory returns.
The objective of this audit was to determine the extent to which selected agencies have implemented the two recommendations of the previous audit; and the appropriateness of advice provided by Finance and the ATO. To address this audit objective, the audit assessed:
the roles of Finance and the ATO in clarifying: the interaction of the PB and SG Act; the ongoing role of the PB Act; and mechanisms to monitor Australian Government organisations' compliance with the PB Act;
the extent to which Finance and the ATO have provided guidance and other support to assist Australian Government organisations manage and meet statutory superannuation obligations for eligible contractors; and
whether Australian Government organisations have managed and met statutory superannuation obligations for contractors in past and current contracts.
The objective of the audit is to assess the effectiveness of the ATO's administration of debt collection. Micro-business debt is a particular focus of attention. The three key areas examined are:
strategies–especially the ATO's initiatives trialled in 2006;
infrastructure–the IT systems, people, policy and processes and risk management framework supporting the collection of debt; and
management and governance–planning, monitoring and reporting mechanisms and liaison with stakeholders.
The ANAO focused on the work of the campaigns area within the Debt Line, which has collection responsibility for 90 per cent of collectable debt cases and responsibility for other key, centralised functions such as reporting, quality assurance review, consistency and best practice, and the debt collection initiatives.
The objective of the audit was to assess and report on the administration of the Act by the department in terms of protecting and conserving threatened species and threatened ecological communities in Australia.
examine the ATO's implementation of the ten recommendations in The Australian Taxation Office's Management of its Relationshipwith Tax Practitioners (Audit Report No.19, 2002–03), having regard to any changed circumstances, or new administrative issues, affecting implementation of those recommendations; and
identify scope for improvement in the ATO's management of its relationship with tax practitioners.
Follow up audits are recognised as an important element of the accountability processes of Commonwealth administration. Parliament looks to the Auditor General to report, from time to time, on the extent to which Commonwealth agencies have implemented recommendations of previous audit reports. Follow up audits keep Parliament informed of progressive improvements and current challenges in areas of Commonwealth administration that have previously been subject to scrutiny through performance audits.
The objective of the audit was to assess the application of the outcomes and outputs framework in Australian Government agencies. The audit included a review of:
the outcomes and outputs of agencies and the integration of the outcomes and outputs framework into agencies' operations;
the extent to which agencies' performance indicators incorporated better practice characteristics to enable agencies to meet their performance reporting obligations;
agencies' processes for capturing, monitoring and reporting financial and performance information and the extent to which outcomes and outputs information was used in agency decision-making; and
the extent that agencies met their external reporting and accountability obligations.
The audit consisted of a survey of 44 agencies subject to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) undertaken in October 2005 and detailed audit testing in three of those agencies. The purpose of the survey was to provide cross-agency data in relation to agencies' implementation of the framework during the period 2002–03 to 2005–06. The ANAO received responses from all 44 agencies, although not all agencies responded to all questions. The ANAO did not audit the information provided by survey participants and the reported results are based on agencies' responses to the survey.
The agencies at which detailed audit testing was undertaken were:
Department of Education Science and Training;
the then Department of the Environment and Heritage; and
assess, in a selection of FMA Act and CAC Act agencies, how well the revised Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines had been implemented; and
identify any better practice or common problem areas to assist other agencies in their future procurement activities.
The audit focused on procurement requirements that had changed as a result of the revised CPGs, rather than being a more general audit of compliance with all procurement requirements. The audit was conducted in the following entities:
Australian Federal Police;
Bureau of Meteorology;
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO);
The objective of the audit was to assess the ATO's administration of CGT compliance in the individuals market segment. The focus of the audit was the ATO's administration of compliance by individuals with respect to the two most common CGT events: real property and share disposals. The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) identified three key areas for review:
governance – the corporate planning and reporting arrangements relevant to the administration of CGT compliance in the individuals market segment, including how these are integrated with the ATO's overall approach to managing CGT;
identifying and assessing compliance risks – the mechanisms and strategies used to identify and assess CGT compliance risks in the individuals market segment; and
compliance activities – the products and processes used to manage CGT compliance in the individuals market segment.
The audit examined the effectiveness and efficiency of the FAO's management of overpayments, within the FTB Programme. In particular, the ANAO considered the FAO's activities in relation to FTB debt prevention, identification, raising and recovery. The audit also compared the FAO's policy documentation and guidance material for staff, against relevant sections of Family Assistance legislation.
The objective of the audit was to review the operation of the ATO's Tax Agent and Business Portals. In conducting the audit the ANAO examined three key areas: governance – the governance arrangements supporting ongoing management of the Portals; portals development, user satisfaction and realisation of expected benefits – the ATO's processes for involving users in developing the Tax Agent and Business Portals, assessing user satisfaction, and evaluating business benefits arising from uptake of the Portals; and information technology (IT) security and user access controls – the ATO's IT security environment and user access controls supporting the operation of the Tax Agent and Business Portals.
Although the audit examined broader aspects of the ATO's administration (such as, tobacco excise governance arrangements, intelligence capability and compliance and investigations activities), we placed particular emphasis on the strategies used by the ATO to address the proliferation of chop-chop (Australian grown tobacco sold illicitly in a chopped up form for $80 to $100 per kilogram. In comparison, 50 grams of legal roll-you-own tobacco costs around $16 i.e. $320 per kilogram) in the Australian markets, as it is an area of major risk to tobacco excise revenue.
The audit reviewed Commonwealth National Parks involving total assets of $105 million with net operating costs of $41.77 million. Nineteen Commonwealth reserves are declared comprising six terrestrial national parks, one botanic garden and twelve marine parks and reserves totalling some 23 million hectares across Australia, its external territories and Commonwealth marine areas. The objective of the audit was to examine and report on the adequacy of the planning, management and reporting systems which support the Director of National Parks in the achievement of required functions under relevant legislation and agreed outputs and outcomes.
The 30 per cent Private Health Insurance Rebate is a financial incentive for individuals to purchase health insurance cover. The rebate provides for a reimbursement or discount of 30 per cent of the cost of private health insurance. It is available to all Australians who are eligible for Medicare and have private health insurance. The objective of the audit was to determine the effectiveness of Commonwealth Government agencies administration of the rebate.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) established a task force in 1996 to develop a greater understanding of the factors involved and to devise a coordinated approach in dealing with the cash economy. The objective of the performance audit was to report to Parliament on the ATO's progress in addressing the cash economy, including its monitoring and reporting of outcomes. The audit focused on the ATO's implementation of its Cash Economy Task Force recommendations in the light of the tax reform that has taken place over the last two years.
The audit's objective was to assess, and report to Parliament on, the ATO's administration of petroleum excise collections. The audit examined whether the ATO had implemented effectively administrative arrangements for the collection of petroleum excise since the transfer of the function from Customs in 1999. Areas that were examined relating to administration of petroleum excise were:
The audit also reviewed the role of Customs in performing functions directly related to petroleum excise collections and key elements of the management relationship between the ATO and Customs in this area.
Taxation rulings are a key mechanism used by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to disseminate the Commissioner of Taxation's interpretative advice on Australian taxation law. The objective of the audit was to:
report to Parliament on the operation of the ATO's administration of taxation rulings (public, private and oral rulings); and where appropriate, make recommendations for improvements, having regard to considerations of: efficiency and effectiveness of the ATO's administration of the rulings system, particularly in relation to the achievement of the objectives set by Parliament for the rulings system; the ATO's systems' capacity to deliver consistency and fairness for taxpayers; and good corporate governance, including the control framework.
Allegations were made to the Senate Economics References Committee that the Australian Taxation Office and Australian Customs Service (Customs) had failed to pursue several cases of detected sales tax fraud. The Committee believed that this alleged failure may have stemmed from coordination problems between the two agencies. The Committee requested the Auditor-General to investigate this matter and report his findings to the Parliament.
The objective of the audit was to report to Parliament on the ATO's management of its performance reporting within the outcomes and outputs framework and to identify potential areas for improvement in specifying, measuring, administering and reporting under that framework.
The audit examined the design, management and reporting of performance information for the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) which is administered by the Commonwealth Departments of Environment and Heritage, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The objective of the audit was to examine and report on the performance information used to support the administration of $1.5 billion in Commonwealth financial assistance; and compliance with legislative requirements for performance monitoring and reporting.
The audit reviewed the Australian Taxation Office's use of audit of individual taxpayers as part of its approach to encouraging taxpayer compliance. The objective of the audit was to examine the use of audit as an element of the compliance management function within the Individuals Non-Business line of the ATO.
The objective of this audit was to assess the administration of internal fraud control arrangements in the ATO and to identify areas with potential for improvement as well as identified better practice. To achieve this objective the ANAO focussed on five key areas. These were:
the application of the ATO's corporate governance processes to the internal fraud control activities;
the prevention of internal fraud within the ATO;
the related use of information technology to minimise fraud risks;
the detection of internal fraud within the ATO; and
The audit objective was to examine the administrative effectiveness of the ATO's use of AUSTRAC data. The audit reviewed the use of AUSTRAC data across three of the ATO Business Service Lines (BSLs) namely, Large Business and International (LB&I), Small Business (SB) and Individuals Non Business (INB). These are the most significant BSLs in terms of revenue collection. The audit focussed on the ATO's use of AUSTRAC data at the strategic and operational levels and its management of AUSTRAC data. Aspects examined include the ATO's relationship with AUSTRAC as well as training, data quality, data privacy and security issues.