IPA welcomes ATO 'one chance' rule

The Australian Tax Office's (ATO's) move to introduce a 'one chance' rule relieving individuals and small business of first-time tax penalties has contributed to a positive cultural shift, according to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

IPA chief executive officer, Andrew Conway, said that this rule was a good sign in particular for small businesses that were often "time-poor".

Under the new rule, if someone had failed to lodge an activity statement or an income tax return on time, they would be given a first-time offender break.

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He also noted that not levying the penalty in the first instance would help reduce the administrative burden facing individuals and small business.

"The 'one chance' rule proposal is a clear sign that the ATO recognises that in the past, it may have been too heavy handed on taxpayers trying to do the right thing, by not taking into account individual circumstances," he said.

"The ATO is to be commended for this approach and it is a positive sign that the working culture of the ATO is improving."

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