ATO assured minister robotax scheme followed best practice – months later, it came to grief

Correspondence shows tax officials defended program, which aimed to claw back ‘on-hold’ debts, as being in line with watchdog advice

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The Australian Taxation Office assured the government that its widely criticised “robotax” scheme adhered to best practice principles months before it suspended a major component of the program and it was publicly reprimanded by the ombudsman.

Internal ATO documents released to Guardian Australia show the tax office responded to a query from the office of the assistant treasurer, Stephen Jones, about the scheme’s methods by arguing the agency had taken on previously issued advice designed to improve how it communicated with taxpayers.

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