ATO in talks with industry but shuts up shop

By: Rob McKay

Meeting cited as reason to halt answers about state of travel claims consultation

ATO in talks with industry but shuts up shop
The ATO won't answer any more questions.


The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has stopped answering Australasian Transport News (ATN) requests for information on its handling of truck driver travel claims changes.

The move comes as the ATO confirms that it is in discussions with the industry for a meeting on the issue.

That confirmation is in answer to an ATN query on the possibility that the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) flagged on Friday.

It is understood a date is yet to be agreed though in around a week’s time is possible.

"Further to the consultation process we conducted prior to releasing TD 2017/19 (Commissioner’s reasonable travel allowance expense amounts for the 2017-18 year), the ATO is meeting with transport industry representatives to discuss what this means for their members," an ATO spokesperson writes.

"As these discussions are now underway, we do not intend to provide any further commentary in the media."

With the understanding of what constitutes consultation in this case for the ATO unclear, ATN had sought an understanding of the disconnect between the ATO’s insistence that emails were sent to trucking industry bodies and their blanket denial to us that any such alert was received.

Proof was requested that the emails were actually sent, to which of the 60 industry groups they were supposedly sent to, including their email addresses and when.

ATN asked whether it would it be possible to have a list of the groups that did respond and to see these responses.

Given, as the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) noted, there was no draft document for TD 2017/19, the reason for this was requested.

While the ATO adamant it has a robust consultation process, ATN was unable to locate a reference for TD 2017/19 in the consultation section of the ATO website and help in doing so was asked for.

Also unclear is whether this information may ever see the light of day.

When asked if the halt in communication on the issue was final, the ATO spokesperson replies: "We have nothing further to add to what we’ve already provided."

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook