ATO jumps the gun on resource tax repeal

The Australian Taxation Office has cut more than 70 per cent of staff from the resource rent tax area.

Around 100 out of 140 people have been moved out of the area which deals with the contentious mining tax, which is still in place unless the new senate repeals the tax after July 1.

The MRRT repeal was rejected by the Senate on March 24, opposed by Labor, Greens and unexpectedly, by the Palmer United Party.

Clive Palmer has refused to support the repeal unless the Liberal Government agrees to keep a welfare benefit for the children of fallen defence personnel, which is funded directly by the MRRT.

The head of the ATO’s resource rent tax team, deputy commissioner Stephanie Martin resigned on March 7, leaving the area without leadership.

By law the MRRT must be collected from resource companies up until the tax repeal bill is passed through the senate.

ATO commissioner Chris Jordan informed staff of the need for staff cutbacks in November 2013, two months after the Liberal Party’s success in the 2013 federal election.

Around 900 positions were flagged to be cut from ATO staff, in order to reach federal budgetary requirements for the 2013/14 financial year.

The West Australian reported confirmation that only 30 staff were now dealing with “active compliance and technical advice” for the MRRT, as well as the petroleum resources rent tax which is expected to deliver $2 billion this year.

Shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said martin’s resignation from her post at the ATO was not good for the collection of the mining tax.

"To score a cheap political point, this government is cutting back on enforcement of the mining tax, which Joe Hockey projects will raise $1.8 billion in 2016-17,” Leigh said.

“Every dollar foregone means higher taxes or fewer services for ordinary Australian families."

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