Consultation and influencing factors
External consultation by the State Revenue Office allows for evidence and insight to be sought from professional bodies and the private sector.
Principally, our consultations relate to legislative amendments and their effect on the administration of state taxation. The extent of our consultation is influenced by the subject matter, its degree of importance, time constraints, and what is already known about the issue.
Importantly, the input of stakeholders may bring attention to any unintended consequences or barriers to compliance created by changes to legislation and/or administrative processes.
When we consult
State Revenue Office consultation is ongoing. In addition to specific-issue consultation, we meet regularly with peak bodies to:
- discuss issues of mutual interest or matters in prospect; and
- maintain cooperative relations.
Where new or amended legislation is proposed by the Government (and to ensure its policy-making prerogative is not compromised), the Commissioner consults only on technical aspects of draft legislation. Our aim is to ensure that the legislation will work in practice, as intended.
Consultation topics may include draft revenue rulings, specific technical matters, e-business initiatives, forms design and other taxpayer services.
There will be occasions when consultation is not appropriate, including where:
- the issues are minor;
- time frames are too short, meaning it is not feasible for changes to be considered or implemented;
- legislative changes relate to embargoed State Budget initiatives;
- anti-avoidance measures are involved; or
- there is no ability to implement any feedback received, eg harmonised payroll tax legislation or administration.
Our consultation on draft legislation deals with the practical implications of proposed legislation, not the underlying policy. The process is often confidential, therefore the State Revenue Office will usually restrict its consultation to professional, representative bodies.
Occasionally the parliamentary schedule (which is outside the control of the State Revenue Office) may impose strict time limits on the consultative process.
How we consult
The way we consult is determined by the nature of the issue and the type of feedback required. Consultation can be indirect, such as inviting written submissions, or require face-to-face discussions with technical experts and various professions.
Regardless of the method of consultation the State Revenue Office will:
- identify and include stakeholders who we believe will be affected/interested by changes;
- encourage all parties to contribute their views;
- provide realistic timeframes for presentation events and feedback;
- acknowledge, respect and understand the views of parties and provide feedback on those views where possible;
- advise the Government of concerns and how best to meet its objective and minimise any unintended consequences; and
- inform stakeholders about the outcome.
We will always seek to understand each party's point of view. Experience shows that participants are most influential when they support their views with evidence and analysis.
State Revenue Office consultation is based on five principles:
The effort and resources expended on consultation will match the magnitude and complexity of the issue, the anticipated impact of the proposal, and the level of stakeholder concern.
Consultation will be scheduled as part of a specific change development process so that it can influence the final outcome.
The objectives of each consultation session will be clearly stated. Any constraints on consultation, such as policy commitments or other decisions, will be clearly stated.
The outcomes of consultation will be communicated to stakeholders. It is acknowledged that consultation rarely achieves consensus and stakeholders may have contrary views. Not all issues raised will be able to be addressed; where this happens, we will tell stakeholders.
From time to time, confidential information will be shared during consultation. We advise our stakeholders where this is the case, and expect confidentiality to be respected. If stakeholders wish to circulate information to a wider audience, advance approval must be sought.