The Tax Administration should be held accountable to Taxpayers for its conduct. If the Tax Administration's service standards are not properly adhered to, a procedure should be in place to allow the Taxpayer to make a complaint against the actions and/or procedures of the Tax Administration. This process is separate and distinct from that of an appeal or internal review. The complaints procedure is not to be used to determine a Tax liability.
- A complaints procedure shall be established by the Tax Administration.
It is an important Taxpayer right that the Tax Administration establishes a procedure allowing Taxpayers to make complaints regarding the actions and/or procedures of the Tax Administration. Service standards are to be defined and published by the Tax Administration, thereby allowing a Taxpayer to review the standards to determine whether the Tax Administration's conduct is appropriate. In addition, the complaints procedure should encompass situations where a Taxpayer's rights have not been respected.
- A person making a complaint about the activities of the Tax Administration shall be guaranteed not to be subject to reprisal or prejudicial treatment for so doing.
A Taxpayer who makes a complaint regarding the conduct of the Tax Administration should not be prejudiced by the Tax Administration for making the complaint. It is easy to imagine ways in which the Tax Administration could target a Taxpayer who lodges a complaint. This would be unacceptable.
- Any such complaint shall be reviewed independently and objectively by a branch of the Tax Administration and unless the complaint is frivolous, the complainant shall have a right to appear and be heard.
Complaints made by a Taxpayer through the complaint procedure shall be reviewed by an independent branch of the Tax Administration, possibly the office of the Taxpayer Advocate or Ombudsman, that is capable of acting objectively and fairly. If the complaint has merit, the Taxpayer will have the right to be heard and appear before the person tasked with resolving the complaint to tell the story in the Taxpayer's own words.
- The fact that a Taxpayer is self interested in the outcome of a complaint shall be a factor to be noted in the evaluation of the matter but not determinative.
Where a complaint is made by a Taxpayer, it is normally evident that the Taxpayer may be self-interested in the outcome of the complaint. The fact that the Taxpayer is self-interested cannot in itself influence the outcome. The complaint will be evaluated by looking to its merits, with any self-interest in the outcome of the complaint being noted as a factor in the evaluation. This ensures that the complainant has the right to be heard and the system is perceived as fair.
- The complaints procedure is not to be used for determining Tax liability, interest or penalties and shall be confined to the conduct of the Tax Administration in carrying out its duties and not to the assessment and appeal of a matter.
The complaints procedure is to be used by the Taxpayer for disputes regarding the actions and/or procedures of the Tax Administration, such as not complying with the defined service standards or recognizing Taxpayer Rights, and not for disputes surrounding Tax liability, interest or penalties. These matters can be heard through the appeal process.