Yesterday a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra heard from senior tax office officials that up to 30 Australian Tax Office (ATO) staff had accessed taxpayers’ private data (including celebrities) without authority.
While Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan assured the senators in the hearing that the ATO took this matter very seriously, it was revealed that only 12 of the offenders were fired, with the other 18 facing lesser penalties.
These revelations come just two weeks after the ATO Deputy Commissioner Michael Cranston came under investigation for his possible involvement in his son’s alleged $165 million tax fraud scam.
“We are keenly aware that the community must have full trust in us – in our integrity, objectivity and expertise – we cannot do our job effectively without this,” Mr Jordan said.
“When confidence in us is jeopardised, it can impact negatively on taxpayers and the tax system, and I will do everything in my power to eliminate the risk of that happening.”
Do you feel safe knowing that poor procedures and practices allowed 30 tax office officials to access taxpayers’ private data without the correct authority?