Tax veteran Karen Payne appointed as next inspector-general of taxation

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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Source: AAP/Stefan Postles.

The government has appointed Board of Taxation boss Karen Payne as the next inspector-general of taxation.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg made the announcement on Monday morning, five months after the departure of former inspector-general of taxation Ali Noorozi.

Starting on May 6, Payne will serve a five-year term as the tax watchdog, overseeing and reviewing the ATO and its practices.

Payne is an experienced taxation professional who has been steering the ship at Board of Taxation for the last three years.

Prior to that, she spent almost 12 years as a tax partner for Minter Ellison in Sydney and has also lectured in tax at the UNSW Business School.

Payne wrote about fairness in the taxation system last year, in which she opined about the role of the Board of Taxation in providing advice to the ATO, Treasury and others on tax policy.

Frydenberg said Payne will bring “substantial private practice and public service experience” to the role.

“This appointment will continue the high level of skills and experience available to the office of IGT to help improve the administration of the tax laws for the benefit of all taxpayers,” he said in a statement.

Andrew McLoughlin has been serving as the acting inspector-general of taxation since the departure of Noorozi last year.

During that time he’s overseen the completion of multiple reviews into tax-office conduct, including a probe into allegations the ATO employed heavy-handed tactics in small-business dealings.

The investigation found no systemic wrong-doing on the ATO’s part but did identify localised issues in a South Australian office.

Labor had been calling on the government to undertake a consultation process for Noorozi’s replacement, prompting Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh to criticise the announcement on Monday.

“Since vacated in Nov 2018, Labor has been calling for the Liberals to fill the crucial office of Inspector-General of Taxation & consult on the appointment. Today’s announcement comes 5 months late & with zero consultation. Sadly typical of Morrison and predecessors,” Leigh said via Twitter.

NOW READ: ATO fraud report: Tax watchdog calls for improved transparency in wake of police investigation

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