The Board of Taxation’s ‘Sounding Board’ and how it can improve all things tax

In the interests of regulatory reform and simpler tax laws, the Australian government has requested the Board of Taxation to seek ideas for tax system improvement from its stakeholders, businesses and the community.

The resulting initiative is called Sounding Board, which is an innovative online collaboration platform to submit, discuss and vote on ideas to improve the tax system. The Sounding Board community will be able to identify and prioritise the ideas put up for discussion on its website (click here to see what is being discussed).

Who can use Sounding Board?
Sounding Board is open to tax bodies and professionals, businesses and members of the public to have their say on ways to improve the tax system.

What types of ideas can be submitted?
Sounding Board is designed for tax system improvement ideas, such as ways to reduce red-tape and result in compliance savings. For example, the borrowing cost threshold and keeping of schedules for borrowing cost amortisation. Sounding Board is not designed to consider new policy ideas or significant changes to the tax system, for example changes to allowable deductions or tax rates.

Can minor care and maintenance tax suggestions be submitted?
Yes. Sounding Board is the place to contribute ideas for tax regulation reform, including care and maintenance ideas previously part of the ATO’s Tax Issues Entry System process.

Sounding Board will be updated to notify users when a care and maintenance idea has been identified and will advise of further developments.

How long will ideas be available for discussion?
All ideas submitted will remain on the site indefinitely. An idea may be removed if it is out of scope.

What happens to submitted ideas?
The Board will work with the government, Treasury and the ATO to further explore and implement the highest priority ideas. When an idea has been selected for implementation, the Board will continue to monitor and advise on its progress and update the Sounding Board community.

How long does it take for an idea to be implemented?
An idea may be referred to the Treasury (if legislative) or the ATO (if administrative) for implementation. Depending on an idea’s complexity, implementation can take from six months to several years (if a legislative change is required).

How will I know what has happened with my idea?
The Sounding Board website has a “campaign funnel” panel in the top-right area of the web page. This classifies ideas in a status bar indicating whether it is:

  • open for discussion
  • closed
  • being examined by the Board of Taxation
  • referred for implementation, or
  • implemented.

What about regulatory reform ideas previously submitted to the Board?
Regulatory reform ideas submitted prior to creation of Sounding Board have been reviewed by the Board. A list of outcomes will soon be made available on the Board’s website.

To contribute, visit the Sounding Board website. You will need to register as a user if you haven’t done so already.

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